Family members of 'missing trekker' hold protest

Family members of the trekker who went missing from Gangbal in Ganderbal district last month held a protest on Friday seeking the whereabouts of their kin.

The protesting family members of Hilal Ahmed, a research scholar from Srinagar’s Bemina area denied their son have “militant connection”, while urging authorities to trace him.

The family members, mostly women assembled at Press Enclave here. “We don’t believe in the statements about militant connection of our son. We urge the authorities to do everything to trace our son,” they said.

“Our son is a research scholar who was very ambitious about his career. He wanted to move abroad to pursue his career. We don’t believe that he has joined militant ranks. Why would someone update his status and location while going on trekking if he was planning to do something like this? We beg authorities to help us trace him,” said sister-in-law of Ahmed.

The family said several of their family members, particularly elder brother of Ahmed, was refusing to return home from Gangbal area where he was last seen.

Nisar Ahmed, maternal uncle of Ahmed said their family was going through mental trauma. “His brother and aunt who have been searching him are under depression, so is every other family member. Every time an encounter breaks out in Kashmir, whole family goes through hell. After Malabagh encounter there were rumors of him begin trapped there, on social media. We couldn’t sleep for the whole night. We request police to help us in finding him.” said Nisar.

On June 14, Ahmed had gone missing from Gangbal area of Ganderbal where he had gone trekking with his friends.

As per the family, his friends told police that he (Ahmed) stayed back while on trek saying he was tired.“But when they came back, Hilal was missing,” they said.

Since the day family has been seeking his whereabouts. On June 23, IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said the missing trekker has joined Hizbul Mujahideen militant group. But his family denied Ahmed has joined any militant group.