J&K: Family Alleges son 'Disappeared' After Picked up by Army in Kupwara
Image Courtesy: Social Media
Srinagar: A family from the border district of Kupwara in North Kashmir are demanding the return of their kin Abdul Rashid Dar, who was allegedly picked up by the Indian Army on December 15 from his home but has since ‘disappeared’ with the forces claiming that he escaped from custody.
The family from the Kunan-Poshpora village held a protest in Srinagar’s Press Enclave on Wednesday, accusing the Indian Army of withholding the information about Abdul Rashid Dar’s whereabouts. The demonstrators, which included Rashid’s family members, relatives and neighbours, also urged Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha to intervene in the case and help the family trace Abdul Rashid Dar amidst serious apprehensions about his safety.
Hilal Ahmad Dar, Abdul Rashid Dar's brother, told reporters in Srinagar that the latter was picked up by 41 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) of the Indian Army during a raid last week.
“It was about 8:30 pm, and he was having dinner. They came without the police or Sarpanch, but we called the village head later, and he was taken. They (Army) said he had to be questioned,” Hilal Ahmad Dar said.
His two brothers and another sister are married and live separately, leaving only Abdul Rashid Dar to care for his parents. In his 30s, Abdul Rashid Dar, according to the family, drove a load carriage vehicle and did menial jobs to support his ailing parents and one sister.
His sister, who was also part of the demonstration in Srinagar, said there was also a raid at their sister’s home in the village. When the soldiers came, they asked us to come out of the house. She also said the army men hit their father, who has been bedridden for the last nine years.
“They did not let him (Abdul Rashid Dar) even wash his hands. I tried to grab my brother, but the military soldiers pushed me away. They did not even allow him to wear his shoes,” she added.
When the family asked an official, who they identified as the town commander, about the raid, the officer said they were taking Abdul Rashid Dar for questioning.
“We were told to visit the army camp in Trehgam village the next day. But they did not allow us inside the camp and kept saying that the questioning was underway,” Abdul Rashid Dar’s sister recalled.
The next day, when the family did not receive any response, they informed the local police about the incident and later were told by the SHO that their brother had escaped from the Army’s custody. The family, however, do not believe that Abdul Rashid Dar could have escaped from the camp where hundreds of forces are deployed.
Abdul Rashid Dar’s sister also pointed out that during the raid, she had shown documents of two surgeries that her brother had undergone in his head.
“I told him not to hurt my brother, and I brought that up later, to which the town commander said that he had only hit him only in the lower body. How did he escape if he was beaten up?” she asked.
The family also alleged that the local authorities have been unable to do anything so far.
“It has been seven days since. We want our brother back,” the wailing sister said.
Yougal Kumar Manhas, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara, told NewsClick that the police have already lodged a case following a complaint from the Army.
“As of now, we have considered it a missing person case. We have been investigating it from day one. There are some clues, and we hope the case will be resolved very soon,” SSP Manhas said.
Following the protest from the family, former chief minister and president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti urged the Army’s Corps Commander to intervene in the case.
“A youngster detained by the Army on December 13 has allegedly escaped their custody and is now missing. Worrying that a civilian goes missing in Army custody. Request the Core Commander to kindly intervene,” she tweeted.
NewsClick has reached out to the Indian Army’s Srinagar-based defence spokesperson, who informed us that he is getting the details and will respond soon.
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