Srinagar, Nov 9: Muhammad Abdullah Dar of Bijbehara in south Kashmir's Islamabad district disappeared in Army custody more than 15 years ago. Since then his relatives are moving from pillar to post to locate him but to no avail.
Abdullah, according to his family, was picked up by the troops stationed at Dak Bungalow Islamabad on March 3, 1992. "My father had gone to offer morning prayers in a local mosque (in Semthan village). Troops had cordoned-off the village and they picked him outside the mosque along with another person. When we approached the Army, they assured that my father would be released soon," Abdullah's son Muhammad Yusuf, 22, told Greater Kashmir.
"We waited till evening, but my father wasn't released," he said. "For a month we visited the Army. Later, they denied that my father was in their custody. I was a kid then, but I used to visit the Army camp regularly to seek whereabouts of my dad," said Yusuf.
The disappearance of Abdullah shattered his family as he was the sole breadwinner. Yusuf had to leave studies and work as a labourer at a tender age.
Yusuf has one regret: "I was a kid when my father disappeared and wasn't in a position to search for him. My mother tried her best but due to limited resources she couldn't afford to continue the search. All these years, my mother had to sell six kanals of land to feed the family."
After attaining adulthood, Yusuf made it a point to search for his father. "How can I live peacefully without knowing what happened to him? If Army killed him why aren't they giving his body to us?" he asked.
Yusuf said they met Peoples Democratic Party president and Member Parliament (Islamabad constituency) Mehbooba Mufti several times. "She promised much but did nothing," he added.
Appealing international human rights organizations to probe the disappearance of his father, Yusuf said, "We are helpless people and have no hope of justice from Indian agencies and politicians. If international groups will probe the custodial disappearances, only then only the fate of thousands of Kashmiris will be known."