Jammu And Kashmir Government Urged To Set Up Judicial Commission
30 August 2007
Srinagar: Desperate to know the whereabouts of their dear ones who have been allegedly missing in custody for the last 17 years, members of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) on Thursday urged the government to set up a judicial commission to investigate the 'thousands of such cases'. On the eve of World Disappearance Day, scores of people mostly women gathered here to further their demand of making 'public the whereabouts of the missing persons'. They were joined by leading human rights activists notably Tapan Bose and Sonia Jabbar besides some Kashmiris living in the U.S. At a sit-in protest led by APDP chairperson Parveena Ahangar, whose son is missing since August 1990 when he was arrested by National Security Guards, the gloomy and tired faces of these hapless parents narrated their tales of woe. Holding photographs of their children, brothers or husbands, the women vowed to continue the struggle till their whereabouts were known. Among the crowd was an elderly man Ghulam Nabi Naqashbandi, whose grandson Mukhtar is missing for the last several years. 'You don't think the strife is over. It will consume you also one day as you refused to pay attention to our cries,' he shouted saying that politicians were indifferent towards this crucial issue. 'If it would have been a daughter or a son of a Minister, it would have been otherwise.' There were also many children whose fathers had disappeared and who were facing financial difficulties. Sabreena, an eight-year-old girl from Kulangam clung to her mother when asked where her father was. 'He [Abdur Rasheed Ganai] was arrested by the 131 battalion of the BSF at Sopore in 1998 and after that his whereabouts are not known,' she said. Hafizullah Mir, a functionary of the APDP, said that the disappearances should be treated as an offence. Defence spokesman Lt. Col. A.K. Mathur, however, does not agree with what the parents say. 'It is a propaganda to malign our troops. We are strict about human rights,' he said. Tapan Bose feels that neither the government nor the security forces were sensitive towards the issue. 'It is the biggest crime against humanity,' Mr. Bose said.