In September last year two youths – Manzoor Ahmad Khan and his friend Nassurllah Khan, were taken into custody allegedly by army while Nasurullah was recovered in bad shape as he was severely tortured, even after five months there is no word about Manzoor Ahmad Khan.
The two young men were picked by the army unit of a local area in Sogam as they had to ask them some questions. Even villagers who saw them going inside the camp has given testimony to police and senior army officials and narrated the entire sequence of events how these people where stopped by army men on duty and taken inside the camp to meet the Company Commander who had desired to meet them.
Soon after the disappearance of Khan the villagers held protest demonstrations and senior officials including top army officials visited the village to pacify the people, however, the assurances have not failed to bring Khan back. Even after five months – the family members of Khan are anxiously waiting for him. Khan happens to be the relative of J&K’s Rural Development Minister, Abdul Haq Khan who belongs to the same area. Haq Khan along with top officials visited the village and assured action against the guilty army men and officials and also promised recovery of Khan, but it seems he too has failed though Army’s General Officer Commanding had assured villagers that army soldiers along with the locals will search for Khan.
The army though claims that Khan was released shortly, however, villagers are not ready to accept that theory as the person who was picked up along with Khan had told the people that he was being severely tortured and he could hear his cries. On its part – J&K police has registered a case against the local army unit; however, the case was never taken to conclusion that has created apprehension among the people about the justice system. Even some police officials have conveyed to their seniors that army is not cooperating in this case. The SIT constituted by the government to investigate the case had failed to get officials of the RR camp investigated.
While many people in the area believe that Khan has been tortured to death, however, family has not lost the hope and they are still thinking he will return. However relatives want that police should take this case seriously. The accomplice of Khan who was left outside the village in the very critical state is now recuperating at his village.
His family exhausted all the money on his medication and doctors are still not hopeful whether he could lead a normal life in future. This is not the first case of disappearance in J&K, since the start of militancy in Kashmir, thousands of people have been missing and many disappeared during the custody of the forces. There is an organization for those who have gone missing in Kashmir and the organization has been holding protests every month in remembrance of their loved ones.
They want answers from the government about their missing relatives. The disappearance of Manzoor Khan has once again raised questions on the accountability of the forces and their behavior. Many people feel in Kashmir that government has failed to provide justice to the families of the disappeared persons. These type of incidents always put scars on the people which are difficult to heal. These incidents when an innocent civilian is being made to disappear leave young and educated people frustrated as they see no accountability to this type of injustice.
That could be one of the reasons why PHD scholar who also hail from the same area instead of taking pen decided to hold gun. Not only government but army also needs to take these issues seriously otherwise programs of Sadhbavana or the slogans like Awam and Jawaan Aman Ka Muqam lost its meaning in the Valley. A small incident or a death could spark a series of deadly incidents like it happened when three youths from Nadhihal village where killed in custody and later dubbed as militants. Still there is an opportunity not only for government also for the army to take issues of human rights very seriously in an order to restore the peace in valley and confidence among civilians.