Riyaz Ul Khaliq
Festive looks wore Srinagar’s Batamaloo in 2002. It was Eid-Ul-Azha and Adil Rashid was preparing for mid-day prayers.
“It was fourth Eid,” said Nusrat Rashid, Adil’s sister said, “Adil had had his lunch, put on Pant-Kameez and left for prayers around 12:15 PM.” That was the February 26, 2002 and for fourteen years, Adil did not return home.
Adil, then 16, was a class ninth student at Allahdad School Batamaloo.
Khans in New Colony Batamaloo are bereaved today as one of their cousins died a few days ago. But last Friday, their excitement knew no bounds when they received “unwelcomed guests” from Police Station Batamaloo.
“Some cops, in civvies, from Police Station Batamaloo came seeking details about Ab Rashid Khan, father of Adil,” a cousin of Adil told Kashmir Life Thursday morning while attending guests who had come to sympathise with bereaved Khans.
“We were disturbed as why police had come,” he said, “and when we enquired about their visit, we were informed that there is some news about our lost son, Adil.”
“It was Eid,” he said, “every one of us turned up but the duo policemen did not say anything else.”
One of the uncles of Adil said he rang up his another cousin who lives nearby Ab Rashid Khan in Hamdania colony Bemina.
After Adil disappeared in 2002, his father, Ab Rashid, was shattered. A painter by profession, he is father of four: three unmarried daughters and Adil. “In 2003, he deserted the jointly owned ancestral house in Batamaloo and lived with his in-laws at Rainawari,” a cousin of Adil said.
After some years, Rashid bought some land in Hamdania colony Bemina and constructed two-room house around 2008.
After receiving the call from Adil’s uncle last Friday (April 15, 2016), his cousin rushed to meet Rashid to give him good news. “I broke the news of lost Adil to Rashid and his wife and everyone broke into cries,” he said. Next day, Nusrat went to meet SHO Aftab Ahmad at Batamaloo Police Station.
Narrating the events, leading to discovery of their lost son, cousins of Adil said, “the Batamaloo Police Station was contacted by some doctor from Pune last week. The doctor informed the cops about the missing man.
One of the cousins of Adil, who was listening to the conversation, said, “we contacted Dr Mohan Bansode on phone. He told us that Adil regained his memory last week.”
“We all were happy; and the first question we asked Adil was his name and address,” the cousin of Adil quoted Dr Bansode as having said, “Adil gave us his address like this: I am Adil Rashid; I live in New Colony area of Batamaloo in Kashmir where there is a Shrine (Batamaloo Sahab) and a Dispensary.”
Dr Bansode searched internet and got in touch with Police station Batamaloo. “SHO Aftab returned the call just after three hours while searching all the files containing FIRs before he finally located FIR regarding missing case of Adil Rashid,” Nusrat said. “This reopened the wounds. Police enquiries started and hopes were rejuvenated that we will be able to see our son alive.”
Adil’s sister Nusrat, who along with two other sisters works at a private said that one of their uncles, Ab Rehman, helped them in registering FIR. “We had gone literally mad,” she told Kashmir Life on Friday morning, “no one came forward to help us but Rehman uncle. He went to police station and got one FIR registered on March 12.”
Getting nostalgic, she said, “we moved from pillar to post to locate Adil neither we could go to Delhi to seek whereabouts of Adil.”
“People would make stories that Adil might have crossed LoC because militancy network was still intact the day he disappeared; others said he might have been killed at the border while others feared he might have been kidnapped and subjected to forcible disappearance,” Nusrat said.
As the tragedy befell Khan family, Adil’s mother was sure about one thing, “Adil has not crossed LoC.”
“She would always tell people that Adil is not in Pakistan as he was not keeping good mental health and was on medicine.”
Khan family had to even face music from forces. “Because situation was still suspicious, police and STF would come and seek whereabouts of Adil,” they said, “at times, Rashid was beaten.”
“We had lost hopes,” the family said. “We had presumed him dead!”
The story was slightly edited after Nusrat Rashid, sister of Adil Rashid, visited Kashmir Life office on April 22, 2016 and narrated the story.