Kawoosa (Budgam): The family of the girl who was detained along with Major Leetul Gogoi from a Srinagar hotel on Wednesday have fled their neighbourhood in Chek Kawoosa area in Budgam.
When Kashmir Reader visited the family, the girl’s mother was still present in the house, which is no more than a shed made of corrugated tin sheets. She has reportedly left it now and gone into hiding.
The mother and aunt of the girl were huddled in the tin shed when this reporter reached there, some 13 kilometers away from Srinagar along the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway. The mother said that Major Gogoi along with his fellow soldier Sameer Malla visited their home twice in the past two months. “They threatened us that if we told about their visits to anyone, we will be shot dead,” she said.
“We are extremely poor. Our house was washed away in the 2014 floods. Since then we have not been able to construct a new house. We live in this makeshift shed along with our large family,” she said.
She said that the girl’s father is a daily-wage labourer who works hard to meet the needs of the family.
“We are living a life of penury and hardship. This girl (who was with Major Gogoi) is my youngest child. She studies in Class 10 and also does some embroidery work to earn some money,” the mother said.
“On Wednesday, she left home to visit the J&K Bank branch at Narbal, some 2 kilometers away. She had to go there to attend a meeting called by members of a self-help group,” the mother said. “Taking some documents along in her bag, she assured us that she will be back soon. We had no idea that she was taken to Srinagar by Major Gogoi and his associate Sameer Ahmad Malla in their vehicle.”
“My husband left for work and I was alone at my home when someone from the neighbourhood informed me that my daughter had been caught along with this army major at Srinagar,” she said.
“I was shocked and for a while could not believe him. But when police called the local sarpanch (village head) and asked him to come and take the girl back home, I was shocked to know that it had really happened,” she said.
The mother said that her daughter was born in October 1998. She said the girl was brought back to Budgam and handed over to her father in the presence of elders from the neighbourhood who had come to their home on Wednesday evening.
The girl is now staying at her maternal uncle’s home in Panzinara. This reported visited the uncle’s home but he was not allowed to meet the girl.
“We don’t want to prolong this issue but rather want it to end as soon as possible,” said one of the family members.
The mother of the girl said, “This is not the first incident when Major Gogoi has abducted our girl. In the past two months, he (Gogoi) visited our home twice during the night hours.”
“On one of those nights, we were quite asleep in our shed. It was almost 2am when someone knocked on our door. We woke up but did not open the door. However, there was continuous knocking on the door, so we opened it. We saw that two persons wearing pherans standing outside,” the mother said.
“We asked them their identity but they refused and barged inside the room,” she said. “I lost consciousness and fell down. I don’t know what happened after that. When I regained consciousness, I found that they had gone.”
The mother said that she enquired from her children who those men were. They replied that he was Major Gogoi and said that he had threatened them to not tell about this visit to anyone, or else they would be shot dead.
“We did not disclose this incident to anyone because we were afraid that they may kill us,” she said.
The family has three sons and a sole daughter. The family wants to settle the case and does not want to give it any hype, the girl’s mother and aunt said.