Anantnag: Twelve days after mysteriously disappearing near her dwelling in Pahalgam forests, searches to locate the 4-year-old girl from Bakerwal community have yielded nothing.
The minor girl named Shakira went missing near her dwelling in the forested area of Batkoot in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam on June 4 when the family was setting up their makeshift accommodation for summer months. The family alongside hundreds of families migrate from plains in Jammu to mountains and forested areas with the onset of spring for spending summers grazing their livestock, which consists mainly of sheep and goat.
Since then, her parents are in extreme shock and have not been able to even talk to anyone as multiple searches to trace their daughter have proven futile.
One among the three children of Abdul Rasheed Baji, her family along with their counterparts shifted from Akhnoor in Jammu to the forest area for summers for grazing their livestock.
On June 4, while the Baji family was moving their baggage to the place they are living at now. “Shakira was asked by her mother to wait along with her brother and some other children while the mother was busy shifting the baggage,” said Haji Gama, a close relative of the family.
When the mother and other family members returned, there was no trace of the girl and the rest of the children were not able to say anything about her absence. “She went missing around noon and it was highly unlikely that a wild animal would have ventured out during the day. We suspect she has been abducted by someone,” he said.
Shakira’s mother and her father are in extreme shock and have not been able to even talk to anyone, all these days. The relatives of the family have assembled at their dwelling and are now presuming that the girl might be dead.
The family, however, alleges that the police and the administration have shown extreme laxity in handling the case. “One policeman came here and left after taking all the necessary details. Since then, no one has come this way. We have been tirelessly searching through the forest area to get a clue to no avail,” Gama said.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Pahalgam Fahad Tak said that a case has been already registered and efforts to trace the girl were on.
“It is a difficult terrain and far from the population. We have sent a police team accompanied by people from the wildlife department twice now,” he said, adding that the wildlife people were taken along to try and find any traces of a wild animal being the culprit.
Tak, however, maintained that no clue whatsoever was found by teams which visited the forested area. “She was accompanied by children and if she was taken away by a wild animal, those children might have been extremely frightened, which is not the case,” Tak said.
But, he said, the children have been able to say nothing about the girl’s absence.
“We are now investigating other possible angles to the case like animosity or a rivalry which might have played a part,” Tak said. The family, meanwhile, continues to be in mourning waiting for their little child.