Srinagar: The Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) held a monthly silent sit-in protest on Thursday seeking the whereabouts of their missing kin.
Scores of family members of disappeared people assembled inside Pratap Park at Lal Chowk carrying posters in their hands and reiterated their demand for “the ratification of International Convection for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance”.
“The ratification will help to bring out the special nature and circumstances in which such crimes are perpetrated and will make evident the multiple rights that are violated as a result of an enforced disappearance,” a statement issued by the association said.
Sharing his pain and travails of looking for his missing son, Ghulam Qadir Telli from Handrawa said that he has not missed a single protest since he came to know about APDP.
“My son was apprehended by government forces from Sopore, he had gone there to see a doctor,” Telli said.
He said that the family came to know about his son, Firdous Ahmad Telli’s enforced disappearance by government forces two days after he went missing, when some army units arrived at their house.
He alleged that government forces demanded arms and other ammunition from them.
“After conducting search in our home government forces took me to the Army camp where I was tortured for two days. I believe everything was pre-planned so that we (family) stop looking for Firdous,” he said. “My neighbors filed my sons missing report in local police station because I was not able to move for six months. The dislocation of my back bone is an outcome of the torture by brutal Indian forces.”
Mohmmad Ismiel of Hoondi Nowshera of Baramulla district said that Army took his son, Mohmmad Latif Abbasi, from his home during a night raid some 20 years ago.
“Next morning we went to the concerned army camp, the then Commanding officer told us that he has sent him to Pakistan for some work. He always sent us back saying Latif will return after two days, but those two days never ended,” said Ismiel.
He added that his son was not working or had ever worked for army. “He was a common person with no contact with the army, they took him forcefully,” he said.
Another protester, Jameela Khan, said that her son, Irfan Ahmad Khan, then eight class student was taken by the Rashtriya Rifles when he had gone for tuition at Karanagar, Srinagar.
“I went to file First Information Report but the authorities at police station Safakadal did not file it. They demanded 10000 rupees from me. When I asked them where shall I get the money they kept mum,” she said.
Khan claimed that she heard stories of presence of her son on two occasions.
“First time some people from Batamaloo approached us, they told me that they had spoken to Irfan during a crackdown in the area. Second time our neighbors and relatives claimed to have seen him on a news programme of Doordarshan. The news then had claimed that he along with other four people had surrendered before the army,” she said.
“We went to the office of Doordarshan to get the footage but they claimed that army had taken the footage. He was not a militant but a kid who wished to be a doctor or engineer. I wish to see his face before I die,” Khan added.
Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of APDP, who also participated in the protest, said that if law was equal for all then why isn’t it applicable for armed forces.
She also demanded that law on enforced disappearance be passed by Jammu and Kashmir legislatiure so that the vagueness and ambiguity is overcome.
Ahanger also condemned recent civilian killings, blinding and maiming of youth, and vandalizing public property by state forces. “The state forces have been unleashing terror by beating school children, with the recent example being of the school kids at the hands of the Army at Pehalgham. The state forces have also been vandalizing property and barging into civilian homes especially in Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam,” she said.