12 Disappeared Who Became Calendar

Bilal Handoo

SRINAGAR

Collage of sketches of 12 disappeared persons figuring on APDP's calendar.
Collage of sketches of 12 disappeared persons figuring on APDP’s calendar.

Indian Army’s 15th Rashtriya Rifles battalion picked up Abdul Hamid Badhiyari of Boat Colony in Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir on January 20, 2000. An auto-driver by profession, Abdul Hamid became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 28. And since then his wife Shakeela and his children Adil and Sana are waiting for his return.

Abdul Hamid is the first case figured on the calendar of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), released on the eve of International Human Rights Day. Besides calendar, APDP released postcards of the disappeared persons.

A 06-page calendar depicts 12 sketches (besides details) of those who were ‘forcibly disappeared’.

“Ninth Rajput Rifles, a Battalion of the Indian Army picked up Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh of village Magam in Handwara, a district in the northern part of Kashmir on February 28, 1997,” reads the description on the second sketch. “A farmer by profession, Ghulam Mohammad became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 40. His son Javed Ahmad is waiting for his return.”

The thinking that has gone into the making and design of these postcards and calendar is to keep the memory of our loved ones alive, said APDP chairperson, Parveena Ahanger.

For March 2016, the calendar carries a sketch, description of Mohammad Abdullah Dar of Samthan village in South Kashmir’s Islamabad. Dar was picked up by a RR battalion of Indian army on March 20, 1992. A farmer and waza (chef) by profession, Dar became a victim at an age of 35. His wife Zoona Begum and his three sons – Sajad, Naushad and Yusuf are waiting for his return.

The postcards have put sketches of disappeared persons on its front side and their details over leaf. Both calendar and postcards have also couplets by famous Kashmiri and world renowned poets inscribed on them.

I tremble with fear that I may die;

And the angst of heart will not go away.

My pleasant faced and comely beloved,

O my friend has he not come? (Rasul Mir)

“The Indian Army picked up Abdul Hameed Shah of village Wadpur in Handwara on April 1990. A farmer by profession, Shah became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 24. His wife Rafiqa Begum and his son Nisar Ahmad are waiting for his return.”

A sketch of Mushtaq Ahmad Khan has appeared for May 2016 on the calendar. The description says that Khan of Batamaloo Srinagar was picked up by twenty grenadiers of Indian army and became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 24. A daily wager in Forest Department, Khan is still being searched by his wife Rafiqa and his children Amir, Samir, Faisal and Farzana.

On June 17, 2003, the 61st Battalion of Indian Army picked up Bashir Ahmad Sofi of Naidkadal Srinagar. A small entrepreneur by profession, the calendar description says, Sofi became a victim of enforced disappearance at an age of 22. His mother, three sisters are waiting for him.

“O my sorrow, my Yusuf!”

And Yaqub’s eyes turned gray with suppressed grief.

And his sons said, “You always remember Yusuf.

This will kill you or make you sick”

Yaqub replied, “Certainly I complain of my sorrow and grief to God only.”

Mohammad Latif Khan of Chandanwari Uri was picked up by 46th battalion of CRPF on July 14, 1990. A potter of profession, Latif was 36 when subjected to enforced disappearance. His wife Anwar Jan and children Nargis, Haseena and Rufaqat are still searching him.

On August 18, 1990, Indian national security guards picked up Javaid Ahmad Ahangar of Batamaloo Srinagar. A Class 10 student, Javaid was 16 when subjected to enforced disappearance. His mother Parveena Ahangar who later organised the families of the victims of enforced disappearance in Kashmir under APDP is still tracing his signs. The poet Ahmad Faraz’s couplet seems to complement her pain:

How can I spend my journey in the scorching sun?

Spread the shade of my beloved’s remembrance upon my head.

The post cards also mention details about the APDP as how and when it was established.

“Special Task Force of Indian Police picked up Fayaz Ahmad Beig from Awantipora on September 6, 1997 at an age of 29. A camera operator by profession, Beig is still being traced by his mother, Maimoona.”

For October 2016, the calendar carries the sketch and details of Javaid Ahmad Dar of Lodurr Sopore, who was picked up Indian Security Guards on October 3, 1990. A third standard student, Dar was only eight when subjected to enforced disappearance. His parents Suraya and Ghulam Hassan are still waiting for him.

Showkat Ahmad Kataria of Katianwali Baramulla was picked by Army’s RR on November 16, 2002 and subjected to enforced disappearance. A daily wager, Showkat was 25 and is still being traced by his ailing father, Jan Mohammad.

On December 9, 1994, Abdul Rasheed Khan of Kukroos Kupwara was picked by Indian Agency, IB. A student of eight standard, Khan was only 14 when he was subjected to enforced disappearance. His father, Ghulam Mohammad is waiting for his son to return.

The poet Hafiz Shirazi’s couplet while marking the end of the calendar apparently infuses a long cherished hope in the families of the disappeared:

The lost Yousuf shall return to Kan’an, one day, do not grieve;

The house of grief shall flower into rose-garden, do not grieve.

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