Kupwara: People in areas of Kupwara held a protest demonstration on Tuesday against the alleged abduction of three civilians by an army soldier and the ‘tardy investigation’ of the Kupwara police into the issue. Scores of people, including family members of the three missing men — Ali Mohammad Sheikh of Trehgam, Mir Hussain Khatana and Gulam Jeelani Khatana of Dardpora, Kupwara — assembled in Trehgam chowk on the Baramulla-Kupwara road and held a protest from about 8am to 1pm.
The protesters, shouting anti-army slogans, were demanding strict action against the army man, Manzoor Khawaja who, according to protesters, is directly involved in the abduction of the three civilians. Talking to Kashmir Reader Ali Mohammad Sheikh’s wife, Haseena Begam, denied reports emanating from the police suggesting the trio might have crossed the border to collect information for the Indian army.
“If it is true, then who sent them across the border? Who saw them? Who cleared it? It is totally baseless, the police should put pressure on Khawaja, who is the main culprit,” she said. The family members of the other two missing men also said that Manzoor Khawaja was directly involved in their abduction. They also stressed that it was totally wrong to suggest the missing men were working for the Indian army in the past, while appealing to the police to trace the missing as soon as possible.
Khursheed Ahmad, nephew of Gulam Jeelani, also denied reports that Jeelani had crossed the border to collect information for the army. “He doesn’t know the routes…He was just a labourer,” he said while also stressing the police must act against Khawaja.
Later, a team of police reached the spot and assured the protesting people that all the missing men would be traced.
After some time, the protestors dispersed peacefully and traffic was restored on the road.