‘They picked up my husband, returned his body in pieces’

Even after 18 years, Masooda Parveen still remembers the rock crushing sound of army jackboots when her husband was picked up only to be returned in pieces in a gunny bag.
‘They picked up my husband, returned his body in pieces’
File Photo

Even after 18 years, Masooda Parveen still remembers the rock crushing sound of army jackboots when her husband was picked up only to be returned in pieces in a gunny bag.

It was cold night of Feb 2, 1998, Rigoo family of Chandhara Pampore was preparing for dinner, suddenly a posse of armymen from 17 Jat regiment entered the house and picked up Ghulam Mohiudin Rigoo.

"They started ransacking everything as soon as they made an entry into my house on the pretext of something they never told us," says Masooda.

"He was bundled in a vehicle and whisked away."

It was not first time Regoo was nabbed, it had become routine for Ghulam Mohiudin Rigoo who was a lawyer and businessman.

Masooda Parveen, an arts graduate from Govt Women's College, M.A Road Srinagar, said her husband had started a business.

"Since we are from Pampore which is known for its saffron, we planned to go for its export," she says.

Things took an ugly turn when an exporter in Delhi told them that the saffron they had supplied was substandard.

"When we tried to locate those people who had supplied us substandard saffron, they were nowhere."

The family literally came on the road and had to sell their land to pay debt of people.

After some time, Rigoo was abducted by some people, and Masooda traced him in Baramulla.

"I immediately left along with some neighbors for Baramulla. I found scores of government gunmen standing there. When I was looking for my husband I found those exporters standing there and I knew that it is because of them that we are suffering," she said.

After wrangling with them for some time she got him free.

But again on Feb 2, 1998, when army raided their house with government gunmen, she feared that reason could be the same men.

"I could not do anything, I was helpless. I ran after the army Gypsy barefoot."

Masooda says that she went to police station to lodge a complaint against them but was asked to wait.

"I went back home and was waiting when a Gypsy stood by our gate. Station House Officer of Pampore jumped out of it and took my elder brother-in-law along," she says with a tear rolling down her face.

At home people had started gathering. Masooda says: "They made way for me and I saw him – lying on the floor."

As Masooda went close, she felt numb, there was something more to worry about.

"Regoo Sahab's body was in pieces. His limbs were chopped off, nails pulled out with blue bruises all over," she says with tears rolling down her face.

On enquiring from police about his death they gave her a reason she never banked upon.

"They said he was a militant and was blown off by the explosives while moving towards his hideout in Wasturwan mountains."

She says: "He never bowed in front of them, that's why he was punished."

As days passed, Masooda gathered herself and started fighting for justice.

She first lodged an FIR Vide No. 98PC/0/98/HT/GS in Police Station Pampore and subsequently filed a case against Army's 17 Jat regiment in the court.

After dragging the case (Masooda Parveen vs Union of India; Writ Petition (civil) 275, 1999) for many months, the verdict of Supreme Court of India finally came on May 2, 2007.

"The guilty were acquitted in the case. Nobody was ever charged for the death of my husband."

However Masooda never compromised on providing best to her children. Today one of her sons is a doctor and another is pursuing MBA in London.

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