Mistaken Identity: Wife of J&K Man Held in Iraq Begs Govt for Help

Mistaken Identity: Wife of J&K Man Held in Iraq Begs Govt for Help

India

Video Editor: Varun Sharma

Video producer: Debayan Dutta

Wife of 51-year-old Nazir Ahmad Dar, a farmer from Kashmir’s Srinagar who has been detained in Iraq in an apparent case of mistaken identity since 30 December after a red corner notice was issued by Interpol with his name and year of birth, begs Indian authorities to intervene and ensure his return.

Bismillah’s friend Aafreen, who is her neighbour and traveled with her on this pilgrimage trip, says that she keeps crying and is having suicidal thoughts. “She keeps saying she will jump from the third floor of this building.”
Bismillah’s friend Aafreen, who is her neighbour and traveled with her on this pilgrimage trip, says that she keeps crying and is having suicidal thoughts. “She keeps saying she will jump from the third floor of this building.”
(Photo: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)
Despite the J&K police and the Indian embassy in Iraq informing authorities that the detained Nazir Ahmed Dar is not the wanted criminal, he continues to be lodged in a jail in Iraq.

Speaking to The Quint exclusively upon her return to India on 15 January, Bismillah, who has been inconsolable, says, “He is an innocent man. He is illiterate. He goes every morning to the mosque to read the namaz. He has done absolutely nothing due to which they could have picked him up. He is not a militant.”

The couple had gone to Iraq on a pilgrimage trip with fifty other people. Dar and Bismillah’s daughter’s marriage was supposed to happen after this trip, where they went to Mecca, Madina, Shaam and Iraq. It was on the way to Iraq that Dar was detained at the airport. She begs authorities for help to bring her husband back. “After they let him free will only I say that they (Indian government authorities) have helped me out," she said.

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Why Has Nazir Ahmed Dari Been Detained?

Dar, a farmer, was reportedly held by Iraqi authorities at the Al Najaf international airport on 31 December for being on the Interpol watch list, upon his arrival from Syria, while on an international pilgrimage.

According to the red corner notice, one ‘Nazir Ahmad Dar’ is wanted for “criminal conspiracy, offences relating to membership of a terrorist organisation and support given to a terrorist organisation, raising fund for a terrorist organisation.”
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)

Dar has been detained despite his address on his passport listed as Srinagar, and that of the wanted criminal on the red corner notice being Soppore.

Also Read : Mistaken identity lands Assam woman in detention camp for 3 years

J&K Police: Dar Not Involved in Incriminating Activity

In a letter on 4 January, the SHO of Zadibal, where Dar lives, had carried out a verification and clarified that this person is not involved in any 'incriminating activity' and there was 'nothing adverse' against this person as per police record.

This is the SHO of Zadibal police station clarifying that Dar is not involved in any incriminating activity.
This is the SHO of Zadibal police station clarifying that Dar is not involved in any incriminating activity.
(Photo: The Quint)

Indian Embassy Backs Dar, Says Case of Mistaken Identity

The Quint has also accessed a letter from the Indian embassy in Iraq from 7 January, which demands Dar’s immediate release, confirming a case of ‘mistaken identity’.

The letter reads, “The matter has been checked and examined by the concerned originator of the Interpol red corner notice in India (that is Indian National Investigation agency in present case). They have intimated the embassy of India that this is a case of mistaken identity and the Indian National Nazir Ahmed Dar detained at Najaf, Iraq, is not the Indian wanted by the Indian authorities. It is therefore requested that Mr Nazir Ahmed Dar may kindly be released immediately.”

His family members believe that it was the use of ‘Sopori’ as Dar’s mother’s last name, that may have triggered the suspicions of authorities. According to a report, his son has been quoted as saying that Dar was illiterate and that this “was the first foreign trip of his lifetime”.

While his wife, along with the rest of the pilgrims have returned to India, Dar is still in Iraq’s custody. The family is attempting to secure his release by getting the Ministry of External Affairs involved and appealing to the government of Iraq.

(With inputs from Masrat Zahra in Srinagar)

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