Muhammad Afsar Khan son of Muhammad Muzaffar resident of Binner Sherwaniabad Baramullah and his wife Zahida narrated a woeful tale about army captain’s alleged repression who is posted at F-Company Venkara Binner Baramullah. While displaying his bruised body, Muhammad Afsar Khan, the father of seven daughters told CNS that from past one year 46 Rashtriya Rifles F-Company Captain Balihan aka Major Saleem aka Gabar Singh is after him and compelling him to act as his informer. “I am a driver by profession and in 1995 I was working for militant outfit Al-Baraq as upper ground worker. I never crossed the border. Like other Kashmiri youth I shunned the path of militancy and started living a peaceful life. Everything was fine till last year,” he said adding that the said army captain for the reasons better known to him called him to his camp and asked him to work for him. He told me that he will give him reward in case, “I help him in nabbing the militants.” He said that both of them will reap benefits. “You will get rewards and I will get promotion. Shake hands with me without any delay,” the Captain said.
“My refusal infuriated him and from that day he started harassing me and my family on the one or the other pretext. Why should I act as an Army informer for a petty sum? I don’t want to get killed because I have seven daughters,” Afsar said.
He said in January this year Captain Balihan picked him up and interrogated him. “When my wife informed the Panch Syed Shah and another respectable citizen Ghulam Muhammad Bhat about my illegal detention, he set me free on the condition that we will not take up the matter with the higher authorities,” he said.
His wife Zahida said that time Captain Balihan assured her that he will never touch her husband again. “I was shocked on May 29 last month when my father informed me that Captain Balihan dragged my husband from the vehicle near Stadium Gate Baramulla and took him along inside the army camp,” Zahid said.
“I was on way to Baramulla to fetch rice when Captain Balihan stopped the vehicle and detained me. He took me inside a dark room. He along with his body guards interrogated me without any reason. The body guards of another Captain Pradhan joined the chorus. I can easily identify them. They forced me take off my all clothes and used all their energy to torture me. It was a nightmare and they continuously interrogated me for four hours,” Afsar said adding that blood oozed out from his ears, nose and mouth. “Have a look over my body and see what they did to me,” he added.
His wife Zahida said that she spent whole day outside Stadium gate and raised hue and cry the day when her husband was dragged from the vehicle. “I almost become a commodity that fateful day. I continuously knocked at the army gate to get my husband released. Locals who wanted to come close to me to enquire about the matter, were beaten up by army personnel deployed at the gate,” Zahida said.
Afsar said that when his condition deteriorated during interrogation, Captain Balihan handed him over to the local police. “Initially after seeing my condition police refused to take me along but finally they shifted me to Kantabagh hospital and treated me well. “I am thankful to Jammu and Kashmir police for taking care of me,” he said adding that his Samsung Galaxy mobile is still lying with the said Captain. He said that the Captain also snatched Rs 10000 from him during the interrogation.
Muhammad Afsar Khan alleged that during interrogation, Captain Balihan hanged an AK-47 rifle around his neck and a pistol in his hand and while clicking several photographs, told him that, “this is sufficient proof to dub me as a hardcore militant whenever he needs,” he said and appealed army authorities to take cognizance of the matter and save him from the wrath of the said Captain.
Srinagar based Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel N. N. Joshi said that it is all baseless and there is no truth in it. He said it is only an attempt to malign the image of the army. “Afsar Khan was an active OGW whose activities came to light. Based on the inputs, he was apprehended and handed over to police on the same day,” Joshi said.
Deputy Inspector General of Police North Kashmir Range Ghulam Hassan Bhat said that Army had called the said person for questioning. “They released him on the same day after he was found innocent. If he is all praise for the police then he should have approached the top police brass,” he said adding that he would certainly look into the matter.