(Magam) Handwara, Dec 10: For past 7-years, Rafiqa Begum, 40, of this frontier village has been running from pillar to post to trace her husband Muhammad Aslam Sheikh who went missing from Gurdaspur Punjab in March 2005. She has appealed the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to help her locate her husband.
Narrating her woeful story, Rafiqa Begum mother of three including two minor sons, who barely manages a living by doing menial works’ in Handwara town told Greater Kashmir, “I am living a pathetic life ever since my husband--Aslam Sheikh--- disappeared leaving behind a tale of sorrows and trauma.”
“He used to visit different villages in Punjab during winters to earn his livelihood by selling Kashmiri shawls. He used to leave for Punjab in November and return in March every year. He made last telephone call to us on February 2, 2005 and told us that that he was being unnecessarily questioned and harassed by some agencies in Punjab and he wants to return home,” she said.
Since that day we have not been able to get in touch with him, Rafiqa added.
“I appeal Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to take up the matter with Punjab Chief Minister to help me to locate my husband,” she said.
Her 15-year-old daughter Sumiya Aslam, who has appeared in Class 10th exams, accompanies her mother and helps her in doing the menial works like washing clothes and utensils. “Though I somehow manage the household expenditures still at times the school fee of my children remains unpaid,” she added.
Rafiqa has exhausted all her resources in search of her husband but all in vain. “I have sold all my ornaments and other valuables including 5 Kanal of land in search of my husband but his whereabouts are unknown. I have searched for him in all the jails of Punjab and visited different cities and towns of Punjab but all in vain. His disappearance has badly affected the education of my children,” she added.
"Police have not even registered FIR about my missing husband" she said.
When contacted, SP Handwara, Choudhary Muhammad Aslam said, “I will look into the matter personally.”
The dismayed woman complained: “Many people visit me but nobody lends a helping hand.”