Srinagar: A woman of Kokernag area of Islamabad district continues to wait for the return of her son who was picked up by Indian troops in 2002 and was subjected to custodial disappearance.
According to Kashmir Media Service, knocks at her door; “Aav ma Fayaz (Has Fayaz returned).” She poses this question because the years of weeping and frustrated expectation of her son’s return has blurred her eyesight.
Fayaz Ahmad Lone was picked up by thuiioe troops of 36 Rashtriya Rifles on the night of 22 September 2002 from his sister’s house in Zalangam village of Kokernag area in Islamabad district. He hails from Gadol hamlet in the same area.
The troops had told the family that Fayaz, a mason, was needed for a search operation. Four other men who had been picked up along with him had been released hours later. Fayaz’s father, Abdul Rehman, who died six years ago after a futile search for his son, had learnt from the villagers in Zalangam that the soldiers had arrived in a private vehicle (registration number JK03-6611).
Fayaz is survived by his wife and three minor children – two daughters and a son.
The family says that a police constable and an army Major whom they named as Moor were behind the disappearance of Fayaz. They say that the witnesses to the incident have been harassed by Indian police and Army which prompted the family to stop pursuing the case.
“It has been 13 years since his disappearance and not a moment goes when I don’t miss my son,” Mahtaba said, recalling how she had been forced out of Mehbooba Mufti’s home when she went to seek her help. “She (Mehbooba) said ‘go and look for your son’. She was angry because we had filed a complaint with the police. I left her place in tears,” Mahtaba said.
Irshad Ahmed, Fayaz’s elder brother, said that although the family requested then station house officer of Kokernag Police Station to register the complaint the next day, he did so only after five days and that too in the office of then Islamabad Superintendent of Police, Ghulam Hassan Butt. “The SP summoned the SHO to his office. Only then did he register the FIR,” Irshad said.
“We were not allowed to approach the Army directly and it was the SHO who used to go there and communicate with them. Initially, the army, according to the SHO, had promised to release my brother in a couple of days but after Mehbooba intervened, the RR unit completely denied having picked up my brother,” he added.