Engineering students from south Kashmir go missing after police raid at Punjab flat

Engineering students from south Kashmir go missing after police raid at Punjab flat
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Suhail A Shah

Anantnag: Two engineering students from south Kashmir have gone missing after a raid reportedly by Punjab police at their residence in Banur town of Punjab on Sunday evening.

The Punjab police have denied conducting any raid in the area. The station house officer (SHO) of the area said police are waiting for someone from the family of these students to arrive, so that a missing report can be filed.

The students, Gazi Malik of Heff in Shopian district and Mir Imran of Guder village in Pulwama district, are yet to be traced after they went missing late Sunday night.

The two of them are pursuing degrees in civil engineering from Aryan Group of colleges in Almpur area of Punjab. They were putting up in Banur town under police district Patiala.

As per their friends and roommates at Banur, policemen, some of them in civvies, raided their flat at about 7pm on Sunday.

“They held us at gunpoint and asked about Gazi and Imran, who had gone to the market to fetch vegetables,” a roommate of the duo told Kashmir Reader.

He said that all the flatmates and some visitors they had, also Kashmiri students, were thoroughly interrogated and their electronic gadgets were scanned.

“They came at 7 and the nightmare continued till midnight. We were not even allowed to go to the washroom,” said another Kashmiri student who was held hostage.

The students alleged that the policemen kept asking them whether they had smuggled guns from Kashmir to Punjab.  The students were also asked to intimate the policemen before leaving Punjab.

“The cops left at about midnight and we have been calling Gazi and Imran ever since. Their phones are switched off and there is absolutely no trace of them. We fear they have been detained by the cops,” the Kashmiri students said.

They told Kashmir Reader that they have intimated the area’s police station but there has been no response as of now.

The local SHO, Surinder Pal Singh, denied reports of a police raid conducted in the area.

“No raid was conducted in the area by the Punjab police. I have spoken to other officials from the district as well,” Singh told Kashmir Reader over phone from Banur.

He said that he had received a missing complaint about two Kashmiri students.

“I have also got a call from SDPO Pulwama and he has told me that the family of one of the students is on their way here. We will file a missing report after the families arrive here,” Singh said.

Back home, the families of the two youth are worried and shell shocked. They have been making rounds of the police stations in their respective districts but there is no news of their kin.

“We went to the Zainapora police station after we got calls from Gazi’s friends in Chandigarh. The police assured they will talk to the officials concerned in Punjab. We are awaiting a response for now,” Gazi’s uncle, Gulzar Ahmad Malik, told Kashmir Reader.

The family from Gudoora could not be contacted but a senior police official in Pulwama confirmed that the family has already voiced their concerns to the district police.

“We are in touch with the Punjab police on this matter,” the official said.