Rehab Policy Rekindles 70-yr-Khatija’s Hope For Reunion With Her Son4 July 2011
Ranipur (Beerwah): “Moun Gulzar te yeya wapas (will my Gulzar also return),” is what 70-year-old Khatija of Ranipur village of Beerwah in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district, keeps on asking.Khatija is suffering from heart ailment from past 14 years. Her heart problem began soon after her younger son Gulzar Ahmed Rather crossed Line of Control (LoC) in 1997. Her husband and Gulzar’s father could not bear the separation from his son and died of heart attack. “My husband died of a cardiac arrest soon after Gulzar left the home. Since then I have also become a heart patient and take three tablets a day,” said Khatija. Her elder son Ghulam Rasool Rather, a farmer, has been taking care of her and five sisters over these years. “He, who himself has two daughters, managed to marry off all my daughters. He is taking care of me and his family,” she said. She said the rehabilitation policy announced by government for Kashmiri youth, who had crossed the LoC and are willing to return, has raised her hope to see Gulzar again. “Police came to my home for verification. I signed the form also,” said Khatija. She said she told the policemen whether Gulzar will return and their reply in affirmative has raised “my hopes of re-union with my dear son”. “Now I have decided to take medicines religiously. I hope these medicines will keep me alive to see return of my son. It is my last wish to see Gulzar before I die,” says Khatija with tears in her eyes. Like other families in her vicinity, the aged Khatija is hopeful of her son’s return but at the same time apprehensive as well. “I am an illiterate and don’t know the formalities that I have to complete for my son’s safe return. I want my son to return without any tension or problems. I request Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to allow my son to live a peaceful life with the family members,” she said. Gulzar has been in touch with his ailing mother and brother through phone. “I talk to him on phone,” Khatija said with tears rolling down on her cheeks. “He told me that he wanted to return to Kashmir provided he won’t be harassed by the security agencies,” she said. Gulzar has also conveyed to his mother that he had tied a nuptial knot in Muzaffarabad (capital of Pakistan administered Kashmir) and has two kids. “He told me that he won’t come alone but will bring his family also. I am desperately waiting to see my son’s bride and grandchildren,” she said adding Gulzar is working as a labour in Muzaffarabad. Living in a one-story house, Khatija spends her days in the fields. “I remember Gulzar when I sow seeds. I remember him when we reap the crop. I remember him every second. He was my eyesight,” she said. There are many families in Beerwah, whose dear ones have crossed the LoC after eruption of militancy in 1990 and some of them have expressed willingness to return home. However, their family members are apprehensive about the security of their wards and seek guarantees and assurances from the government that their near and dear ones won’t be harassed once they return to Kashmir. It is pertinent to mention here that the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had recently announced that some 108 cases were cleared for their return from Pak under rehabilitation policy.