September 1999 News


BJP nominee's son-freed at last but scared

21 September 1999
Daily Excelsior

SRINAGAR: "If you cry or shout, your father will be killed. Be quiet till our demands are met," abductors threatened blindfolded Asif Sheikh, minor son of senior BJP leader Sheikh Abdul Rehman, while in captivity.

"Though they didn’t harm me but threats scared me a lot," visibly disturbed Asif, class three student, told PTI here today.

Asif Sheikh, seven, was kidnaped by four Maruti-borne gunmen while on his way to school in Parimpora area here on September 17 and freed after the kidnappers received ransom money on September 18.

"It was a traumatic experience for me and my family members fearing worse could happen as we are living in gun-culture where there is no respect for human rights and dignity," feels relieved Rehman with Asif in his lap.

Asif, according to Rehman, was taken hostage by surrendered militants and freed after receiving the ransom amount and ensuring withdrawal as party’s candidate for Anantnag parliamentary constituency through threats.

"The abduction was the handiwork of surrendered militants, who forced me to withdraw from elections, and Asif was set free only after receiving Rs. 2.5 lakh," Rehman said. Rehman said "the abductors had demanded Rs 5 lakh and later agreed on Rs 2.5 lakh, which I arranged from my relatives. They (abductors) even forced me not to contest the elections."

Rehman was BJP’s initial choice from Anantnag parliamentary constituency, who withdrew from the fray following kidnapping of his son and the party nominated Shouqat Hussain Wani in his place.

Terming the BJP’s decision to nominate Wani for the constituency as "disastrous", Rehman demanded the party high command should withdraw his nomination.

"The high command should take serious note of the developments in the party unit here and withdraw Wani’s nomination in view of the circumstances that led to my withdrawal," said Rehman.

BJP’s nominee for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat which was scheduled to go to polls on September 18, Ghulam Hyder Noorani was killed in a landmine blast on September 7. The polling was rescheduled to October 4 following the death of Noorani.

Appreciating the role of press and police in the release of his son, Rehman said but for the intervention of media and police, the abductors would have tried out something dangerous.

"They (abductors) might have tried out something different and dangerous but the timely intervention of police and media helped in the release of Asif," Rehman said. (PTI)

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