15 years on, justice eludes Rawalpora chemist’s family

Despite passing of 15 years into the custodial disappearance of Rawalpora chemist justice eludes his family even the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the disappearance case concluded that the “victim could have died in Army’s custody.
15 years on, justice eludes Rawalpora chemist’s family
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Despite passing of 15 years into the custodial disappearance of Rawalpora chemist justice eludes his family even the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the disappearance case concluded that the "victim could have died in Army's custody."

Manzor Ahmed Dar, a chemist by profession then, was picked up from his home at Rawalpora by unidentified gunmen on intervening night of January 18/19 in 2002. Family members of the missing chemist on Wednesday said the criminal proceedings must be initiated against the accused Army officer of 35 Rashtriya Rifles Major Kishore Malhotra.

"The fight for our justice has not ended. It will go on unless the justice is done," Bilqees, daughter of Dar told Greater Kashmir on her father's 16th disappearance anniversary. "We want the criminal proceedings must be initiated against the Major Malhotra who has been named for the disappearance of my father," she added.

Last year on January 19, a funeral prayers in absentia was held for Dar after the family presumed him dead after 14 years of long wait. The event was its first instance in Kashmir when funeral prayers had been held for a person who has disappeared in Kashmir during the past over two decades of conflict. The relatives of disappeared persons continue to hold protests and sit-ins and urging the government to inform them about their whereabouts. The family since then have reiterated that the fight to get justice will continue. "His soul will get solace by the funeral prayers. But our fight will continue till we get justice," Dar's wife, Jana Begum, had told Greater Kashmir back then.

Just after two days after the funeral prayers in absentia for Dar was held, Dar's mother Zeba Begum breathed her last on January 20. The family had said that Begum didn't accept the reality that her beloved son is no more. Dar, a chemist, was picked up from his home at Rawalpora by unidentified gunmen on intervening night of January 18/19 in 2002. 

Following massive protests, police station Saddar here filed an FIR under section 364 (abduction) against Army's 35 Rashtriya Rifles. Subsequently, during investigation, the name of Major Kishore Malhotra (now brigadier) surfaced as an accused. On November 26 2015, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the custodial disappearance of Manzoor closed the investigation in the case. It concluded that the victim could have died in custody of Army's 35 Rashtriya Rifles led by Major Kishore Malhotra after he was abducted from his residence in January 2002 and his body could have been disposed of.

The Supreme Court had asked Dar's widow to file reply to the Special Leave Petition (SLP) by an Army brigadier against his arrest ordered by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The relatives of disappeared persons, whose number is believed to be more than 10,000 according to data of several human rights groups, continue to hold protests and sit-in here every month asking the government to inform them about their whereabouts.

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