Delhi, August 15: “I want to become a pilot. My father would have been so proud of me if he were here too”, says Faizan Akhtar, a boy who eagerly waits for his father since 12 years with eager eyes.
On 2nd of February in the year 1999 Faizan’s father, Akhtar Hussain Bhat did not return from a friend’s funeral. And since then he has been missing.
“It’s been almost 12 years now, but it feels as it was just yesterday that he was here”, grieves his wife Mymoona.
Akhtar, a tailor by profession, got up at six in the morning like any other day to buy groceries. On hearing his close friend’s demise he had to rush there for the funeral ceremonies. He left the Bananas and eggs with his wife and left for the fateful encounter with oblivion. Little did Mymoona know that she was never going to see him again.
“When he did not return till late at night, I left in search of him,” said Mymoona.
“The friend’s home was in Nehru Park and as I reached there I started asking people present there if they had seen my husband. A few told me that they very well knew my husband but they had not seen him anytime during the ceremonies, and that’s when my heart started to sink, I was panicking for I knew what was going to follow” she narrated.
Mymmoona went to the police station in Nehru Park the next morning where she told the concerned police officials about her missing husband. The policemen assured her that they would help her find her husband but did not file an FIR.
“They took money from my father-in-law and me for all these years, but they haven’t brought my husband back,” grieves Mymoona who works in a walnut factory and tries to make both ends meet for her son and herself.
And this is not just one story of disappearance. Kashmir cries out stories of disappearances from every street that exists. There have been about seven to eight thousand cases of disappearance, out of which only a few have been filed into proper cases.
Another case of Safi has been procrastinated for about 18 long years. Safi’s husband Humayoon had been allegedly picked up by BSF’s 137 battalion in Kashmir on April 20, 1993.
After allegedly looting Safi of her belongings and an ambassador car, the BSF still did not let go off Humayoon. Safi went form one police station to another, filed various cases in the court and was also made to identify her husband from an interrogation cell in Papa 2, but all in vain for the inmates of cell exclaimed that Humayoon who had been allegedly brought there for interrogation had been taken to some anonymous place by the security forces. However the BSF told her that while taking Humayoon to Jammu he fled and they did not know anything about him anymore.
18 years ago, Safi had a different view of the world, but now her perceptions have changed completely. She has lost all belief in the government and the security forces all together but her wait and endurance for her husbands return never stops.
In 1994 Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) was formed by Parveena Ahanger who along with four hundred families has been fighting for the rights of their children and spouses who have gone missing.
In the year 1990 on August 18, parveena’s son was allegedly picked up by the National Security Guard which is a special unit in India that has been used to counter terrorism activities. It was created but the cabinet secretariat in the year 1986 and works under the oversight of the Ministry of Home affairs.
”Capt. Katoch, Capt Danush Sharma and Major Gupta, were involved in picking up my son. When we filed a case in the court the inmates in the interrogation centre in Pari Mahal told us that they saw my son being brought in by the three officials mentioned,” said Parveena
Javaid Ahmed Ahanger (Parveena’s son) was only 16 years old then. “He did not have any Mujaheed training or was against anyone then why did they take away my son?” asks Parveena. A question yet unanswered.
“It’s been 21 years ever since they took my son. I have been to every court, every minister, every interrogation cell in Kashmir and in other parts of India but I still have to found my son. I don’t want the money which the government offers me, I just want my little boy back”, she expresses
Parveena has been to every village and every city of Kashmir trying to collect all families who have stories similar to hers. And her plight with all other mothers and half widows will not get over.
“They have a law for us the common people, they should have a law for the army, the BSF, the CRPF and all other security forces too,” she concluded.
And a yet shocking case is of the first women found missing in Kashmir. On December 8, 2010 Deeba a resident of Bandepora was with her cattle while they were grazing along with four of her ‘friends’ two of which were girls and the other two were boys.
While they were cattle rearing two ikhwanis (Ashraf and Aijaz) came and along with the help of the four ‘friends’ allegedly tied up Deeba and took her to another village
When Deeba did not return for long her husband Mohammad Shafi Bani filed an FIR (232/2010/364 RPC dated: 9/12/2010) in Aragham Police Station. The police along with the entire village left for the other village and caught hold of the two ikhwanis who told the family that Deeba had been taken to another senior ikhwani (Manzoor Ahmed Baniya) to a far off vialge.
The police who had initially arrested the ikhwanis let go off them and promised Shafi that his wife would be brought back to him in just two more days. Deep inside Shafi knew that now his wife would never return and he would never get to see her again.
“Our children are suffering ever since their mother disappeared, they cry silently at night in their beds and I can not do anything but wait for the police to get my wife back. What should I tell them?” asks Shafi.
The woebegone families have little hope left but their spirits haven’t died yet. They strive for justice and they feel one day they will have it too.
“I know that Allah will grant me justice one day, and I will feel stronger than all the security forces put together,” exclaims Parveena with sad moist eyes.
And these are just a few examples of the hundreds of cases that wait justice day and night. Well their fate is yet to be decided but for now it seems that their justice has disappeared too.
Born and brought up in various places (literally) she comes from the heaven valley Kashmir. She is pursuing her honors in Journalism currently. She wants to keep the figuring out part for later and believes in living just the present.