World Day for disappeared: Mother searching her missing children

SRINAGAR: As the International Day for Disappeared was observed across the globe on Thursday, Hajira Begum was one among the many ill-fated mothers, who, were still looking for information about their ‘disappeared’ sons.Hajira Begum wife of Ghulam Mohammad Sofi, an old ailing resident of Onagam- Bandipora has lost three sons during three different encounters with Indian security forces. Only two bodies were returned and whereabouts of the third are still unknown. Tragedies for this old bedridden couple didn’t stop here. Her fourth son, Bashir Ahmad (35) — a local baker, was whisked away by 14 RR on June 20, 1995 from his shop at Onagam.

Twelve years down the line, his whereabouts are not known. A case in this regard stands registered at State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), she said. Hajira said that her husband, once tortured severely by the security forces for his sons’ involvement, lost eyesight. For Hajira it is very difficult to reach Srinagar from Bandipora. “Even my relatives are tired and nobody comes forward to help me. My sons were my hands and now there is no one to hold this ailing mother,” she said through tears.

Her fearless faith and inflexible principles had given her moral support to find her son and hardly there are any lanes left in the valley where Hajira has not roamed to trace him out. But with the passage of time, ill health coupled with penury has left her in a deteriorated condition. She often complains of pain in her abdomen and now doctors have advised her to get admitted in the hospital for a major surgery.

“She is to be admitted at SKIMS Soura on September 1 as she suffers from Gal Bladder stones, and liver ailment,” said APDP president Parveena Ahangar. Parveena said that after hectic efforts Hajira succeeded in registering the first information report with police about his son’s disappearance. “The police would demand her for hefty sums (Rs 10,000) for registering FIR in Bashir’s disappearance case. She couldn’t afford and later gave them rice and some cocks for the same,” Parveena added.

Now she has pinned her hopes with Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) where she believes that whereabouts of her son can be traced out. “I joined this group led by Parveena Ahangar and believe that I can trace out my missing son,” Hajira remarked. Although no documentation has taken place but various non governmental organisations working in Kashmir claim the number of disappeared persons is over 10,000. However, the government has rejected the claims saying that the figure runs may not be more than 3000.

What seems appalling is that no tribunal or commission has been constituted to enquire about the enforced disappearances in Kashmir so far. “Although, soon after the fake encounters, prior to which enforced disappearances had taken place, were unearthed, chief minister of the state had assured on the floor of assembly that all cases of disappearances would be enquired but nothing concrete was done in this regard,” said legal advisor to APDP Advocate Haffizullah.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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