Farooq Ahmad Bhat is perhaps the youngest of the lot who disappeared in Kashmir during last more than 20 years when he was only 15 years old. There have been countless reports about Bhat disappearance in the media after the family registered a formal case with the police. He continued to be untraced since June 22, 1991.
The report Alleged Perpetrators: Stories of Impunity In Jammu and Kashmir that an alliance of human rights groups released last week maintains that “despite the passage of 21 years, no progress appears to have taken place in the investigations.”
The voluminous report termed to be the first of its kind, so far, travels back to nineties when arrests were order of the day in Kashmir. On June 22, 1991, at around 1800 hours, the report says, Farooq was picked allegedly by BSF while he was assisting his father at their shop in Hyderpora. Prior to this, on the same day an incident of cross-firing between the BSF and militants had taken place.
The father of the victim approached Budgam and Sadder police stations but both Station House Officer’s (SHO) allegedly refused to file an FIR. “The father also approached the BSF camp on the following day, were assured of the release of the victim, but no action was subsequently taken,” report notes.
Reportedly, the father of the victim states that on the day he visited the BSF camp he was asked to pay a sum of Rs 50,000 for the release of his son but he refused to do so as his son was never involved in any militancy related activity.
This 354 page report, according to its authors has taken two years to get 214 cases documented that names 500 government officials from various security agencies.
International Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian administered Kashmir (IPTK) that compiled this document in collaboration with Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) recorded the statement of victim’s family on November 26, 2011.
The report says the family of the victim filed a petition before the High Court of J&K. On August 20, 1993, based on a submission by the SP CID, Counter Insurgency Kashmir (CIK) stated that the victim was not in their possession, which made High Court to dismiss the petition.
A complaint was instituted before the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on February 28, 1998 and a decision was delivered on September 29, 1999 where ex-gratia government relief of Rs 1 lakh and compassionate employment under SRO-43 (Statutory Rules and Order) were recommended, report further says.
Another complaint was filed before SHRC on November 16, 2006, and decide on the same day, to allow the father of the victim access to Tihar Jail, New Delhi to find his son. In his application, the father had sought permission to visit the jail. However, the report says the father, on searching Tihar Jail, was unable to find his son.
In 2011, the family of the victim filed another petition before the SHRC seeking investigations on the unknown, unmarked graves in the state and DNA testing to identify the bodies buried, to ascertain whether the victim has been buried in these graves.
The report concludes “the SHRC decision of September 29, 1999 is presently one of two documents on record that may be considered. Father of the victim specifically named the alleged accusers as being responsible for the abduction and disappearance of the victim.” The SHRC sought reports from the IGP Kashmir, DGP J&K and IG BSF, but all three denied that the victim had been picked up and detained by the 102nd Battalion BSF.
Authors of this document sought information on January 10, 2012 on all inquiries and court-martials conducted by the BSF between 1990 and 2011 in J&K, but no information was provided. “Further, the IPTK sought information on 10 January 2012 on all cases of sanctions for prosecutions under AFSPA relating to the Ministry of Home Affairs between 1990 and 2011 in J&K but no information was provided,” the report on this case concludes.