March 2005 News

Families Seek Missing Kin

25 March 2005
The Indian Express

Srinagar: For more than a decade, they have been demanding that the state government tell them if their family members, who disappeared after they were taken into custody, are dead or alive, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. But they have not lost hope and, today again, families of disappeared persons gathered at the Sheri Kashmir Park in Srinagar to register their protest to the government in one voice. Taking part in the sit-in organised by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), 85-year-old Ghulam Nabi Sheikh says: 'If they are alive, the government should allow us to meet them. And if they are dead, let them admit it and hand over their bodies.' Sheikh says his teenaged son disappeared after he was taken into custody more than 13 years ago. 'It is a long wait for us,' says a 65-year-old woman whose four sons were killed and another disappeared in custody. 'We are living in the hope that they are alive and will return some day,' she adds. The APDP says that more than 8,000 people have disappeared in custody in the Valley since the inception of militancy in 1989. The Association organises a silent protest on the 25th day of every month to draw the attention of the society and the government to the issue. 'During Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's rule alone, we have documented 142 cases of such disappearances. The government admitted in March that they are investigating 26 cases but there have been no results,' says Parvez Imroz of the APDP.


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