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'Picked Up Illegally': Kin of J&K Man Allege He Went Missing From Army Custody

While the Indian army claims that Abdul Rashid Dar escaped custody, his family fears 'enforced disappearance.'

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“We want our brother to return home alive," Hilal Ahmad Dar, whose 27-year-old brother Abdul Rashid Dar was allegedly picked up by the Indian army and has gone missing in the last few days, told The Quint.

Rashid, works as a mini load-carrier and hails from Kunan in Kashmir.

He was detained and taken away for questioning on 15 December, the police said in a statement. 

Over a week later he is nowhere to be found.

“They barged into the house and searched everything. They strewed around our household things. And even walked over our sick father’s bedding,” Rashid's sister Shameema said.

As Rashid was being taken away, his mother, Khera Begum injured herself. She collapsed on to the ground, fractured her nose, and had to get four stitches.

While the Indian army claims that Abdul Rashid Dar escaped custody, his family fears 'enforced disappearance.'

Khera Begum.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint/Umer Asif)

Army Claims He Escaped During Questioning

“The army said they needed [Dar] for investigation and asked us to visit the Trehgam army camp [1.5 kilometers away] at 10 [am] the next day, Shameema added.

In the morning, the family went to the Trehgam army camp where they were told to return after a couple of hours. But Dar’s anxious relatives waited outside the camp’s door. 

“Then the SHO (Station House Officer) told my brother (Hilal) that the army has said that [Dar] escaped,” she recalled.

The police has claimed that Dar disappeared when he had accompanied the 10-15 security forces personnel to a militancy hideout during the process of questioning. 

“How is it possible that only ten forces personnel accompanied him to militancy hideout?” his brother Hilal asked.

While the Indian army claims that Abdul Rashid Dar escaped custody, his family fears 'enforced disappearance.'

Abdul Rashid Dar.

(Photo: Kashmiriyat)

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The family fears that Dar’s name will be added among the ‘enforced disappearance cases’ in Kashmir.

According to Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), a Srinagar-based Non-Profit Organisation, more than 8,000 men disappeared in Valley between the late 1980’s and the early 2000s.

The authorities have disputed these figures.

Family Fears for Dar's Safety 

 “The army said they needed Rashid for investigation and took him away. Nobody can dare to resist the army” Kunan village Sarpanch  Khursheed Ahmad Dar told The Quint.

Meanwhile, feeling helpless, the family staged a protest in Srinagar’s Press Enclave and urged intervention from the Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha-led administration.

After the protest gained attention, the army issued a circular stating that a person “Abdul Rashid Dar, S/O Mohammad Siddique Dar, R/O Kunan, Trehgan, Kupwara” has gone missing. 

“Contact SHO Trehgam 9596333888 or Town commander 8493014107, for any information on the missing person,” the army said in its circular.

The Quint tried to reach out the Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Emron Mosavi via calls but he was unavailable. The story will be updated if and when a response is received.

On 22 December, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara Yougal Manhas told  reporters that Dar was detained for questioning in connection with a militancy case.

“On his revelation about the hideout, he gave a slip to the forces. We are investigating in which circumstances he managed to flee. We are in touch with his family also,” he said.


Further, Sameer Wani, Station House Officer Trehgam, said:

“We are investigating the matter, we have received a missing complaint and we are investigating the matter.” Different search parties are trying to trace him, he added.

At Friday 11 am, Dar’s brother Hilal Ahmad, along with village heads and relatives, visited the local police station for an update.

“They (Police and Army) are delaying the process. Only the SHO cooperates,” he said. 

Dar’s sister added that the army continues to say that Rashid is not with them.

“They didn’t have the Sarpanch or police with them when they picked up my brother. They didn’t take him following the legal procedure. We want to know where he is,” Shameema said.

Kunan village has a history of disputed incidents. It is one of the twin villages where the alleged Kunan-Poshpora mass rapes took place in 1991. Many locals accuse the army of being involved in the alleged mass rapes while the army has consistently denied the charge.

(With inputs from a reporter from Srinagar who did not wish to be named.)

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