Muzamil Jaleel|Wed Aug 24 2011,
Srinagar : She was the face of the search by Kashmir’s mothers for their missing sons. But as a report by the State Human Rights Commission promises to many a closure, it may have come too late for Mughli.
She died autumn of 2009 still waiting, and there are no next of kin left with whom to match the remains, if any, of her son Nazir Ahmad Teli. The SHRC report, which found 2,156 unidentified bodies in unmarked graves across Kashmir, has recommended DNA profiling to match the same with those who have reported missing relatives.
When she died, those close to her say, her last words were: “Maine Nazira, aave kha (My Nazir, have you come)?”
“She was our voice, our strength. She didn’t ever give up hope,’’ says Parveena Ahangar, one of the founders of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), whose unrelenting campaign led to the SHRC investigation.
Ahangar’s son was among the first to go missing after being picked up by security forces during a raid on August, 18, 1990. The APDP, which says 10,000 men have disappeared since a counter-insurgent assault began in the Valley in 1990, was set up by her and other relatives of the Valley’s missing in 1994 for a collective search.
“She (Mughli) mourned with such dignity that her words became the representation of our collective grief,” Ahangar says. “Her death made us feel that we may all die one by one, unsuccessfully looking for our children.”
A school teacher, Nazir left home for work, was picked up by security forces and never returned. “I waited and waited for him that evening. When the sun went down and it got dark, I knew something was wrong. He would always come straight home after work,” Mughli had told The Indian Express during an interview.
To Mughli, who had been divorced by her husband just three months after their wedding, it was a double blow. “He was born after my husband divorced me. I had no one… He had never stayed away from home — not even for a night. Each day he would return from school and give me a hug. I am still waiting. I wish to hug him once. If they tell me he is dead, I would hug his grave. I don’t know what happened to him and this pain, this uncertainty, is unbearable,” she had said.
Her lined face like the decayed lattice work in the windows of her house, Mughli had said she had looked for him everywhere — going to police officers, politicians, jails. The APDP had helped her file a petition in court, which is still being heard. Every Thursday, she would visit shrines in the city.
As the years went on, Mughli sat alone in her large family house deep inside Srinagar’s Habba Kadal, with Nazir’s room locked since the day he disappeared, still waiting. When old age turned her nearly deaf, she would sit at the window, looking out.
But for the one time she tried to commit suicide, hope kept Mughli afloat. When she died, those close to her say, her last words were: “Maine Nazira, aave kha (My Nazir, have you come)?”
From The Indian Express