Srinagar: The family of one of the youths reportedly arrested in Gilgit region across the Line of Control (LoC) on charges of being an “Indian spy”, say that they are shocked to hear about their son’s fate two years after he went missing from his home in North Kashmir’s Gurez.
Media reports on Friday, June 12, quoted Gilgit’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) claiming the police in the region apprehended two residents of Kashmir Valley on “espionage” charges at the behest of Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) inside Pakistani territory.
The two Kashmiris were identified as Noor Muhammad Wani and Feroz Ahmad Lone, both hailing from Gurez town of Bandipora district.
Back home, 29-year-old Feroz’s elder brother Zahoor Ahmad Lone told NewsClick he was shocked to know that his brother has been arrested across the LoC.
“He left his home in November 2018 for work but never came back. I was in Jammu back then and my family informed me that he had gone missing,” Zahoor said.
A resident of Shahpur village in Achura area of Gurez, Feroz’s father is a farmer and has three brothers and six sisters, all worried about his fate now.
Zahoor, who owns a mobile shop in Gurez, said the family filed an FIR soon after he went missing at the local police station and Zahoor himself went to the police multiple times to find out about his missing brother.
“The police said they launched an investigation and picked up many people after checking his phone log. The last call was traced to a person named Rouf Ahmad who works for 175 Territorial Army,” Zahoor said.
According to Zahoor, Feroz who worked as a village level worker for the rural development department, was engaged in 2018 before he went missing in November.
“Rouf was also called by police during investigation but, now it appears from his confession that he has been coerced by that territorial army person. He is now confessing to everything on his own,” Zahoor said.
Feroz’s family said that they are planning to file an FIR in this case. “I spoke to my father that we will file an FIR against the person and 175 TA for coercing my brother to cross the LoC. We will do it tomorrow,” Zahoor said.
He added that Wani also hails from the same area but has no contact with the family.
Soon after his brother went missing, Zahoor said, during the police investigation a woman was also questioned. “We were told the woman has confessed that she and her male companion had murdered my brother. Back then, we had believed that this could be true but, now we are shattered,” he said.
Gilgit, where the duo were arrested, alongwith Baltistan is the northernmost part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, and is currently under the control of Pakistan. The area borders Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on the west, Afghanistan in the north and China towards the east.
Sources in the Army told NewsClick that they are ascertaining the fact.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said he is yet to receive any information about the arrests and subsequent claims and will respond after verifying the facts.