Srinagar: In 1990, Parveena Ahangar started with a question, “Where is my son?” Over the years the question has become, “Where are our loved ones?”
In a two-storey brick house, Parveena looks up at the sky and utters the word, ‘Jigar’, when asked about her missing son. The chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), Ahangar still remembers clearly the day, 26 years ago, when her 17-year-old son Javaid “vanished in thin air” from Batamaloo locality of Srinagar.
“Javaid Ahmed, 17 years of age, was taken from Dhobi Mohalla in Batamaloo at 3am on August 18,” Parveena begins to narrate. “He was taken by a group from the National Security Guard (NSG) stationed at Pari Mahal, led by Captain Dhanush, Major Gupta, and Captain Katoch, who came wearing civilian clothes and took away Javaid. Later, police officer Showkat Ahmed Khan from Karan Nagar had even confessed about the illegal arrest of Javaid in presence of sessions Judge Abdul Rehman Bhat in 1991.
“After Javaid’s arrest I held several sit-in protests in Batamaloo. Later, SP Control Room Bashir Ahmed Dar gave me a slip in which it was written that Javaid was in Badami Bagh cantonment. But Javaid was not there.
“In 1993, SP Qayoom was appointed to arrest the three army officers who took away my son. Two of them were arrested, except Katoch, who was in a hospital in Pune, battling cancer.
“In 1996, Col Joshi offered me compensation money but I refused. In 1997 my case was sent to the Home Ministry for sanction. Since then it is lying there,” said Parveena, who has over the years gathered several families of persons who have similarly “disappeared”, euphemism for the forced abductions by the army and police in Kashmir.