Kashmir Torn Families
07 Oct 2013 08:28 GMT
 

SRINAGAR - Twenty three years on the protracting conflict, the families of thousands of Kashmirs, who have forcibly disappeared by Indian troops, are suffering silently, living on the hope that their fathers, brothers and hus (more)

SRINAGAR - Twenty three years on the protracting conflict, the families of thousands of Kashmirs, who have forcibly disappeared by Indian troops, are suffering silently, living on the hope that their fathers, brothers and husbands will return some day.

“Have you seen my father, when he will return back,” a tearful thirteen year old Shazia Anwar, who father went missing on 20th July 2002 when she was only 18 months old, asked OnIslam.net correspondent.

“My father was not a militant, he was a painter and used to earn his lively-hood out his hard work,” she added.

Kashmir's Half-widows

Half-Widows… Kashmir's Lives In Limbo

Like thousands of kids in Kashmir, whose fathers disappeared years ago, Shazia can't remember her father.

Her father, as told by her handicapped uncle, was a simple painter and used to paint the houses of locals here.

“I am being asked about my father by my class mates often when we gossip with each other,” Shazia said.

“Though I don't remember my father but my Mum has shown me his photograph and I used to accompany my mother 10th day of every month at protest site at Lal Chowk.”

Shazia was not the only kid in Kashmir who felt the pain of losing her parent.

Rummy's father Mushtaq Ahmad Khan resident of Tengpura Srinagar along with his other two associates Mehraj Dar and Shabir Ahmad Gasi were arrested by security forces for questioning and later they got disappeared.

Rummy, who was not born when her father disappeared, is now a grown-up girl has many un-answered questions in mind.

“I am facing many problems in absence of my father whom I have not even seen but heard from my mother,” tearful Rummy told Onislam.net.

“Like my father hundreds of young Muslims disappeared during the turmoil and are still clueless,” Rummy added.

Another one, Davood Azad, was only six months old when his father Himaioo Azad was arrested by security forces from his Rajbagh residence during crack down in 1991.

“I cannot really express the agony I suffer from during all these years, my mother always assures me that My father will return back and Mum did not even re-marry,” Davood told Onislam.net.

“I can feel the circumstances under which my father had disappeared as I have my self seen the unabated killings in Kashmir during the last so many years,” he added.

Half Widows

This plight in Muslim-majority Kashmir, a region hit by a restive conflict for more than two decades, was not only affecting little kids.
Disappearances_Distort_Kashmir_Families

Thousands of women in Kashmir have lost their husbands, brothers and sons to what rights activists call “forced disappearances”.

Thousands of women in Kashmir have lost their husbands, brothers and sons to what rights activists call “forced disappearances”.

“I will not re-marry as I have to support my ailing daughter who has developed some heart ailment,” Naseema, mother of Shazia, told Onislam.net.

“We all assemble on 10th day of every month at Lal Chowk to press demand for justice,” she added, referring to protests led by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).

Once their loved ones go missing, women begin a desperate journey as they move from one police station to another, and from one army camp to another, in a journey that takes months and sometimes years.

“No one among so called leaders and government officials visited our homes since our dear ones disappeared,” Naseema said.

“Despite filing of missing report in local police station FIR was lodged in 2008 after a direction was passed by a local court,” she added.

Safia, mother of Davood, has also faced many problems in absence of her husband.

“Finding no way to feed my kids I joined a private job to provide education to my son,” she said.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan region is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the region.

Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.

Defending Rights

Leading efforts to search for the disappeared, head of APDP Parveena Ahanger, who is also a victim of the conflict, has vowed to defend their rights to the end.

“We will fight for justice till last breath,” she told OnIslam.

Travelling across all Kashmiri villages to report the disappeared, Ahanger lost her son who was arrested by NSG personnel in Srinagar on 18th August 1990 and never came back.

“I run from pillar to post but failed to know the whereabouts of my son,” she said.

“After feeling the pain I decided to form an organization APDP in 1994 and organizes protests initially in front of High Court and later at various places.

“We are collecting date of all the missing persons in the state and same will be made public in coming days,” she added.

Up to 10,000 Kashmiris have gone missing since 1989, mostly after being detained by Indian security forces who have broad powers of arrest.

At least 2,000 of the disappeared people were young married males, according to the independent Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP).

“Even we approached State Human Rights Commission but we were told that no action can be taken security forces as SHRC have not been given powers so that they can put security forces to trial,” she said.

“We demand independent enquiry in to all the reported disappearance cases and will continue to protest till last breath.”

Human Rights Forum and International forum for justice is also leading an important role in the torn Indian administered Kashmir.

“I have lost seven members of my family during the turmoil,” Mohd Ahsan Antoo, head of the organization, told Onislam.net.

“We collect data, visit the homes of the missing people and collect evidence from locals about their involvement if any or other aspects and even enquire from concerned units of security personnel's for their alleged involvement.

“After getting satisfied about the disappearance of a person, we file petitions before State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) for the redressal of the grievance and copy of the same is sent to United Nation Commission, Geneva on 100 page format provided by them for the details of the each missing or killed person.”

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net



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