On the eve of International Day of Disappeared, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) staged a peaceful sit-in at Pratap Park Srinagar on Wednesday. Scores of family members of disappeared persons participated in the peaceful protest that was also attended by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik who expressed solidarity with the families of the victims and said that people of Kashmir always support the APDP which is fighting for a just cause.
He said that more than ten thousand people were subjected to enforced disappearance in Kashmir Valley. “They were either picked up by CRPF or BSF and their families are still looking for them. The ugly part of the story is that a wife who is still searching for her husband is called half-widow. It is a tragedy that has taken heavy toll on the affected families,” Malik said added that peace can only prevail when Kashmir issue will be resolved as per the aspirations of the people.
The family members whose loved ones disappeared allegedly at the hands of security agencies during the turmoil in Kashmir reiterated that they will continue their struggle till government locate their missing members.
One of the protesters, who hails from North Kashmir’s Katianwali area of Baramulla district Bashir Ahmad Chichi said that his brother Altaf Ahmed was on his way back from his routine work from fields when he was picked up by some unidentified gunmen. “Since November 16, 2002 his family has been roaming from pillar to post in search of Altaf but all in vain,”
An elderly woman from Kawoosa village of Budgam said that her son Muhammad Ramzan Sheikh was a 25-year-old young lad in 1992 when he was allegedly taken away by forces. “He was engrossed in his work; we were busy in our paddy fields,” she said while wiping her tears.
“I will die in peace after having a glimpse of my beloved son,” she said.
APDP Chairperson Parveena Ahanger said the victims have left no stone unturned to know the whereabouts of disappeared but to no avail.
“Our search from pillar to post is turning futile.” Parveena said adding, “We don’t get any clue of our dear ones doesn’t mean we would give up. No way till our last breath.”
Parveena said the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), High court, Supreme Court and all other institutions of justice have failed to do justice with them.
She said they are living with the hope to see their loved ones back one day. “Hope sustains life, we are hopeful that our disappeared kin will be with us someday soon,” she added. She further said, “We want government to come clear on the disappearance issue.” “Where are our loved ones? Are they alive or dead, we want to know,” Parveena questioned.
She said that several movements across the globe have been raising their voice for the victims of the enforced disappearances in the world. Like us many families have organized themselves in Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.
“I would like to remind ourselves that the enforced disappearance in Kashmir cuts across regions and religions. Besides Kashmiri Muslims, the Sikh minority has not remained untouched from the state terror. In the year 1994 five foreign tourists who were picked up from the forests of Phalgham also became victims of enforced disappearances. Despite evidence State has failed to give details of their whereabouts to their families,” she said.