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March 08, 2011 
Naseema Dar (R), a 40-year-old "half-widow", sits next to her 14-year-old daughter Shabnum Mehraj and... 
Srinagar, India 
Naseema Dar, a 40-year-old "half-widow", sits next to her daughter and a photo of her husband in their... 
Naseema Dar (R), a 40-year-old "half-widow", sits next to her 14-year-old daughter Shabnum Mehraj and a photo of her husband Mehraj-ud-Din Dar in their house in Srinagar March 4, 2011. Naseema, a mother of two, is one of Kashmir's hundreds of "half-widows" -- women whose husbands have disappeared in 22 years of armed conflict with New Delhi. The Association for Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), an independent group fighting for the whereabouts of these missing relatives, says more than 8,000 people have gone missing, most of them following their arrests by Indian security forces in the troubled Kashmir region since a rebellion broke out at the end of 1989. Indian authorities, however, deny the allegations and argue that most of the missing persons have crossed the heavily militarised Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, for arms training. At least 2,000 of these disappeared people were married and nearly all were male and young at the time of their disappearances, the APDP adds. Most "half-widows" are from lower-income Muslim families and according to Islamic rules cannot remarry for at least seven years after their husbands go missing. "Many such women ... have been forced to leave their in-laws' homes and some of them returned to their parents," says Parveena Ahanger, a founder of APDP. "And others are lonely, struggling hard to rebuild their lives. Even after seven years of long wait men hesitate to marry such women. Many of them (men) fear their husbands may return one day." International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8, 2011. Picture taken March 4, 2011. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli (INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR - Tags: SOCIETY) 
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