Mayo 29, 2007

Kashmir: Families of disappeared men to Indian Government, show us the graves of our beloved

By Arif Shafi Wani

Srinagar, Indian Occupied Kashmir, (Greater Kashmir): Promises and consolations by politicians have failed to help Gulshan of Tengpora whose son Manzoor Ahmad was picked up by troops of 20 Grenadiers in 1997. “We don’t want money or jobs but whereabouts of our beloved,” she said while sobbing.

Gulshan was among the relatives of disappeared who had assembled under the banner of Association of Disappeared Persons (APDP)—that is fighting for their cause since 1994—at Sheri Kashmir Park here. Wearing headbands and holding photographs of their beloved ones, the relatives sat in a circle and shared their woeful tales with journalists and among themselves.

“If they have been killed show us their graves. At least we have this right,” Gulshan said and broke down. Her daughter Shabnum tried to console her but in vain. “My brother was running an electronic goods shop and had no affiliation with any militant organization. His disappearance has shattered our family. What was his fault?” she said.

Zainab of Bagandar Humhama had similar tale to share. “Troops of 2 Grenadiers picked up my husband Ghulam Mohiuddin in 1997. Since then he is missing,” she said while pointing towards his photograph. Mohiuddin, a government employee was a lone breadwinner of his family. “Life has become a hell for me as I can’t shoulder the responsibilities. My children keep asking ‘where is our father’ but I have no answers. This is the life of a half-widow like me…” she said.

Taja Bano, who had come all the way from Handwara silently watched kids playing in a nearby playground. When others around her narrated their heart rendering tale, she finally talked. “My son Muhammad Ramzan also played like them. But troops picked him up in 1996 and since then his whereabouts are not known. My life for the past 11 years has passed in shedding tears and hoping that he would turn up,” she said.

Unlike the past meetings of the parents and relatives of the disappeared men, in today’s meeting a large number of cops were present in the park.

Muhammad Yousuf Khan of Badamwari Hawal has spent past decade visiting security camps and interrogation centers in the hope that armed forces would tell him about the whereabouts of his brother Fayaz Ahmad Khan,25, who was arrested by Special Operation Group of Police. Now he has given up the hope that he would see his brother alive.

“I believe he too has been killed and then labeled as a militant. The SOG did it to many civilians, like the Ganderbal incident, for rewards and promotions. He was simply a mason and our lone breadwinner and he was not a militant,” he said.

“On the night of August 2, 1997 the SOG men accompanied by some masked men barged into our house and dragged him out. We pleaded his innocence but they bundled him in the vehicle and left. My brother cried for help and that was the last I saw and heard of him,” he said.

Few hours later, the SOG party also arrested Fayaz’s neighbors Shabir Ahmad Kumar, Abdul Gani Khan and Muhammad Yaqoob Dar. Next day their families rushed to Police Station concerned where cops refused to register an FIR. The families, including of Fayaz went from pillar to post but to no avail.

“My mother Amina pined for developed various ailments after Fayaz’s disappearance. She loved him very much and wanted to see him as a groom. She died few years ago. We have suffered much. Don’t we have a right to weep on his grave, at least,” he said

Posted by marga at Mayo 29, 2007 3:50 PM | TrackBack
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