On the evening of May 6, three-year old Faheem Asgar Lone of Nowpora area of downtown Srinagar went missing from the compound of his home where he was playing, when his mother Hameeda, went to washroom for ablution.
Fortnight later, Faheem’s body was fished out from Wular lake in Leharwalpora, Bandipora. According to police, Faheem had drowned in a nearby canal near his home where one of his footwear was found on its banks. However, the parents of Faheem, fearing his “murder”, had raised questions that “how did his body reach 60 KMs away from congested Nowpora to Bandipora?”
While the Police had already got clues about the boy’s drowning, the post-mortem report of Faheem is yet incomplete. “At this time, we cannot say that whether the boy had drowned or somebody had abducted or murdered him, as the post-mortem report hasn’t come yet,” said Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Amit Kumar.
“We have written to Forensic Science Laboratory to provide us with the post-mortem report so that we can proceed on with the investigations.” Kumar also said that police helps the families in the form of providing them services of divers, motorboats, rescuers and other logistics that can help to locate their missing ones.
On June 19, seven-year old Muhammad Afreen Parray son of Muhammad Rafiq Parray resident of Lachmanpora Batamaloo went missing from his maternal home in Zooh Lasjan when, according to his family, he went outside to purchase sweets at around 2 PM. While the family had kept reward of one-lakh rupees in cash to anyone knowing the whereabouts of the boy, Afreen’s body was fished out from river Jehlum on Wednesday.
While denying any danger of abduction and murder of children in Srinagar, SSP, Amit Kumar said “this is the second case we have in recent two months and the similarity in both cases is that the place where the boys went missing are very close to a water body.” He further said “another common thing was that both the missing children were unattended and unguarded by their parents at the time of their disappearance.”
“Children usually get attracted towards water. It is the responsibility of the parents to not keep their little ones unguarded, usually where the water body is close,” he said.
While the families of Faheem and Afreen mourn their loss, parents have become extra cautious towards their wards to ensure that they stay safe.
Just a month in office and Modi is seriously taking up trade ties with Pakistan. Union Ministry of Home Affairs last Thursday agreed to the long-pending demand of the traders to provide them the much-needed communication (International Subscriber Dialling) facility for the trading activity. A three member team which is in valley assured the Government that it would “seriously pursue” setting up the banking facility for trade which is presently a barter system.
“Provision of the ISD facility to the senior officers dealing with the trade and designated heads of the traders associations was agreed by the MHA officials during the meeting,” reports said.
The team has asked the State government to work out a proposal in consultation with the BSNL authorities for setting up the communication facility on this side of the LoC which would allow traders to remain in touch with their counterparts from the other side.
The proposal aims to set-up communication links at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch, Salamabad in Uri and Srinagar and provide communication lines (ISD facility) up to Kaman Post.
“Once the proposal is worked out, the State Home Department will then take it up with the Union Home Ministry for requisite action. The setting up of the communication links was almost agreed to by the MHA officials; only the formalities have to be completed now,” the sources said.
While Islamabad has kept the communication facility on for their traders, their counterparts this side have been debarred from it by New Delhi since the beginning of the trade in 2008.
Pepped up with its victory in the last Lok Sabha elections; Peoples Democratic Party seems yet to come to terms post results. As the reports suggest, maverick Mufti is being influenced by powerful businessmen and clerks who have lately joined PDP.
Reports say that party has opened its arms for the corrupt retired bureaucrats. Ironically, same PDP has been cornering ruling National Conference for corruption.
The recent reports said that the businessmen and clerks have been pressing senior Mufti to allot assembly seats to their choices, though the party leaders say that it is nothing but ‘deliberations’. “We can’t stop businessmen, former bureaucrats or clerks from joining the party or discussing things with the party leadership,” Tariq Karra said.
However, he said it was not the people who lack wisdom to decide mandate in the party but the party’s top leadership, who do not get influenced by manoeuvres that would not benefit the party.
About reports that PDP was delaying announcing handing of mandate to senior leaders like party’s General Secretary, Muhammad Dilawar Mir, Karra said Mir was the frontrunner to contest from Rafiabad.
“As a matter of precedence, the mandates given at last are the senior members of the party like what happened with Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s mandate,” he said.
While commemorating the 18th anniversary of Ali Muhammad Mir, a contractor from Brein Nishat, who was kidnapped and killed by a renegade group led by notorious government gunman Papa Kashtwari, the family members of Mir demand his dead body.
On June 26, 1996, Ali Muhammad Mir was kidnapped from Dalgate – where he had gone to purchase medicine for his ailing father – by a group of renegades led by Ghulam Mohammad Lone alias Papa Kashtwari and was taken to his infamous camp cum torture centre at Pampore. While searching from pillar to post to trace the whereabouts of his father, Nazir Ahmad Mir, son of Mir, registered a missing report in Nishat Police Station three days after Mir’s disappearance. Nazir finally got a clue about his father from another infamous renegade from Sumbal Sonawari, Kuka Parray who confirmed the abduction of Mir by Papa Kashtiwari.
“I went to Papa Kashtwari to know about my father as he was already harassing him. He was demanding three lakh rupees from my father to run an election campaign which my father refused,” Nazir says. “He ultimately killed him and then buried his dead body at some unknown place.”
During my repeated meetings with Kashtwari about my father, he took an amount of around 160000 from me and promised me his release, says Nazir. It was Kashtwari’s bodyguard, Showkat Ahmad who told Nazir once that, his father was killed on the same day of his abduction.
Feeling helpless, Nazir knocked the door of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) which directed the police to file up the investigation report in a three months time. “In 1999, when Papa’s men were arrested, during interrogation they admitted to have abducted my father on his instructions. But despite their confession the police released them and didn’t take any action against the killer Papa Kashtwari.”
In 2007, after a long ordeal of threats and intimidation, Papa Kashtwari was arrested by J&K Police after one of the SPO’s of Papa’s security Nazir Ahmad from Harwan came with a statement on April 18, 2007 that he was an eyewitness to the murder of a contractor, Ali Muhammad before City Judge Srinagar,
However, the family claims that despite court orders, police has failed to recover the weapon used by Kashtwari in killing Mir. “He has killed hundreds of people and state government itself is complicit in the crime. How can they give the weapon?”
“He has amassed a property worth of crores. He is in jail but he is enjoying a safe zone,” Nazir says. “We demand the dead body of my father. There is an empty grave awaiting him in our neighbouring graveyard.”