Ubaidullah had been missing since he left home for Rajouri last month
Srinagar: Several residents of Nowshehra on the outskirts of Srinagar held a peaceful rally on Saturday to demand justice for the missing youth who was found dead in Poonch area. Ubaidullah Lone, 26, was the only son of his parents. He worked as a daily wager at Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University Rajouri. He had been missing since he left home for Rajouri last month.
According to his family, Ubaidullah had left his job and was at home for two months. On May 20, he left for Rajouri to try get the job back.
“He went to Rajouri to meet the Registrar and Vice-Chancellor of the university, because he wanted to resume his job which he had discontinued for some time. When he could not meet them because they had gone somewhere else, a friend of his named Sarfaraz, who works at the varsity as an orderly, took him to his home in Poonch,” said Shakeel Ahmad, the deceased youth’s uncle.
The uncle said that the family was in touch with Ubaidullah and the last time they spoke on phone was on May 23. After that, the phone stopped being answered.
Shakeel said that the family kept calling on the phone and it was finally picked up on May 26. The person who answered the call was Sarfaraz. He told them that Ubaid had left home to go to the market but had not returned.
The family went to police station Poonch and filed a missing report. They also met the Director General of Police and other senior officers to seek the whereabouts of Ubaidullah.
On May 29, a semi-decomposed body was fished out from a river near Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch. Police took it to District Hospital Poonch, where legal formalities and autopsy were conducted.
The body was reportedly kept in mortuary for 72 hours and later buried by police in presence of Auqaf committee members in a local graveyard, as no one claimed it despite messages shared on media and internet.
As a missing report about Ubaidullah had been filed, police established contact with the family. The body was exhumed from the graveyard in Poonch after it seemed likely to be of the missing youth from Nowshehra.
“We were not able to identify his body at first. It was decomposed and the skin had peeled off from the body. The father of Ubaidullah denied that the body was of his son,” Shakeel said. “But we were not sure. We tried to look for some identification marks but they, too, were not visible. Finally, his mother identified the clothes of her son.”
On Friday, after the permission of the District Magistrate, and in the presence of an Executive Magistrate and a team of medico-legal experts, the body was exhumed and handed over to the family. DNA samples from the body and from family members were also taken before the handover. The body reached his home the same day and was buried the same day as well.
“He was gullible and used to trust everyone. That gullibility on his part landed him in trouble. He was a very gentle boy,” Shakeel said.
The family blamed local police of being “inactive” and “non-supportive”. “We went to police station Soura many times, but they were not helpful. Nobody bothered. They said this is not in our jurisdiction,” said Shakeel. On the other hand, Shakeel said, the police in Poonch were very helpful. “Despite being a non-Muslim, an officer arranged for our Iftaar. We are very thankful to them,” Shakeel said.
When Kashmir Reader contacted police station Soura, they said the case was not in their jurisdiction and they could not have registered an FIR there. They claimed to have “made contact” with their counterparts in Poonch and asked them for “speedy investigation.”
Locals who organised today’s rally said that Ubaidullah’s death looks like murder. “An innocent has been killed and we demand strict action against those who are involved in this crime,” said a speaker at the rally.
Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University in a press statement said that the missing valley youth used to work at the university but no longer did so when the incident occurred.
“News regarding the demise of Ubaid Hameed Lone is being circulated on social media. Our heartfelt condolences are with the bereaved family. This is to clarify that he was not the student of BGSBU. He was a contractual GDH and was disengaged from university rolls more than a year ago,” the press statement said.