Indian Army’s 6 Rashtriya Rifles battalion picked up Shabir Ahmad Gasi from Bemina in Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir on January 22, 2000. A fruit Vendor by profession, Shabir Ahmad became a victim of “enforced disappearance” at an age of 23. And since then his wife Shameema and his children Bisma and Waseem are waiting for his return.
Shabir Ahmad is the first case figured on the ‘calendar 2017’ of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), released today on Tuesday, January 10.
Each month has a photograph and story of one missing person who was “disappeared” by forces.
The calendar also carries poignant quotes and poetry of Yusuf Nama, from the Masnawi Yusuf Zulaikha by famous Kashmiri poet Mahmud Gami.
“13 Rashtriya Rifles, a Battalion of the Indian Army picked up Nazir Ahmad Deka from Lalchowk Srinagar on February 16, 2006,” reads the description on the second photograph. “A hawker by profession, Nazir Ahmad became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 26. At the time of his disappearance, his son was two months old.”
This is for the second straight year that APDP has come up with a calendar. “The thinking that has gone into the making and design of the calendar is to keep the memory of our loved ones alive,” said APDP chairperson, Parveena Ahanger.
For March 2017, the calendar carries a photograph, description of Manzoor Ahmad Wani of Chattabal Srinagar. Wani was picked up from his home on March 29, 2003 by the forces. A motor mechanic by profession, Dar became a victim of “enforced disappearance” at an age of 28. “His father, Muhammad Shafi Wani, had approached the forces but they denied any information about the whereabouts, reads the description.
The photographs of disappeared persons are on the top with couplets by famous Kashmiri poet Mahmud Gami inscribed at bottom.
Lae loosem yiyi phearith yaar meon
Khast e karnas chus na yewaan aar meon
(Strained are my hope filled eyes, wretched my form
Return, I wait, have pity, have mercy) (Mahmud Gami)
“20 Grenadier, an elite regiment of the Indian Army raided the house and picked up Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Dar from his home in Bagandar, Humhama on April 13 1996. A farmer by profession, Dar became a victim of “enforced disappearance” at an age of 50. His wife Hajra and his 5 children are waiting for his return.”
“I can’t shoulder the responsibilities of a big family. Life has become hell for me,” Hajra, who has not been able to follow up on her husband’s enforce disappearance due to lack of resources, said.
A photograph of Mohammad Shafi Dar, a student, has appeared for May 2017 on the calendar. The description says that Khan of Tengpora Srinagar was picked up by 141 batallion of Border Security Force (BSF) and became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 17 on May 23, 1990. His mother and father desperately searched for him in army camps, detention centres, police stations and traced him to Hari Niwas, torture centre. That was the last they saw of him.
Both of them died heart-broken, waiting for him to return.
On June 20, 1993, Irfan Ahmad Khan, a 14 year old student of 8th standard left his home in Safakadal, Srinagar but never returned. The calendar description says that Khan was picked up by 20 Rashtriya Rifles and 7 JAT regiment of the Indian Army. Later, his father Habibullah Khan and sister Rubeena were implicated in a case involving “terrorist activities”.
Ghar e traevieth katei ratteth jaeye tczhaiy
Ko matay meaen matthey tczhaiy
Khwar karthas naar e zaejthas tczhaey
Naad laayay meanei Yusuf-o-waloo (Mahmud Gami)
(Where have you settled, leaving your home Forgot me, forgot my tenderness? O lovable one
You exposed me, pushed me in flames, I grieve for you, I call out to you, O my Yusuf come)
On July 1, 2005 Shabir Ahmad Dar of Noorbagh Srinagar was seen off by his friends at a bus stand after attending a meeting of Salvation Movement at their office in Rajbagh. The calendar description says that a fruit vendor saw him being picked up by a white gypsy with blind shutters. Dar was 25 years old and earned his living by selling shawls.
On August 10, 2000, CRPF and 81 battalion of BSF picked up Zahoor Ahmad Sofi of Batamaloo Srinagar during an army crackdown.
In response to a petition filed by the family of Zahoor Ahmad dated September 25, the high court urged the J&K government to expediently carry out investigation into the matter. However, the calendar description says, “Till date the family is given no information.”
“50th battalion of CRPF led by DySP Manmohan Singh picked up a 25 year old Khursheed Ahmad Bhat from fruit Mandi Sopore on September 25, 1990. An electric goods businessman, Khursheed Ahmad was also a good photographer, reads the description. “Till date Khursheed Ahmad Bhat’s family has no information regarding his whereabouts.”
For October, the calendar carries the photograph and details of Fateh Mohammad Dar.
“6 Rashtriya Rifles of the Indian Army raided their home auite a number of times and beat Fateh Muhammad Dar, they threatened to kill him and intimidated the family, his father Mohammad Jamal Dar was so severely tortured that his left leg is permanently disabled. Fateh Mohammad Dar was detained at Kot Balwal Jail, Jammu under the Public Safety Act. Seven months after his release on October 20, 2000, he was abducted by 6 Rashtriya Rifles who subsequently denied any information about the whereabouts.”
Javed Ahmad Mattoo of Pulwama in northern part of Kashmir was picked by 182 battalion of the border security force stationed at Boner camp, Pulwama on November 7, 1993 and subjected to “enforced disappearance”. A 14-year-old, 7th standard student, Javed’s case was submitted by APDP to the UN working group on Enforced Involuntary Disappearances in Geneva in 2007.
On December 22, 2001, Manzoor Ahmad Wani, a bus driver, of Baramulla in northern part of Kashmir was stopped by a major of 28 Rashtriya Rifles Major Bhattacharya at Tragpora, Baramulla.
Currently, the case against Major Bhattacharya is awaiting permission from the Ministry of Home Affiars for sanction of prosecution.
Manzoor’s case was also submitted by APDP to the UN Working Group on Enforce Involuntary Disappearances in Geneva in 2007.
Marne chaanay aaftaban paan khoatt,
Marne chaanay gao jahaanas aenei goat… concludes the calendar.
(You died and the sun hid its face, You died and the world plunged into darkness.)