February 2007 News

Protest against disappearance of man in 'Army custody' in Srinagar

15 February 2007
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Hundreds of people on Thursday staged a demonstration in the Shalimar area here against the disappearance of a driver allegedly in the custody of the Army since 2002. The agitators blocked the road and shouted slogans demanding that the Government reveal his whereabouts. A similar demonstration was held in Batamaloo, seeking the whereabouts of missing persons. As investigations into the fake encounters in which five bodies have been exhumed so far are on, relatives of hundreds of people reported missing in the last 17 years are becoming restless. For the past two weeks, people have taken to streets protesting against disappearances, mostly in the custody of security forces. Driver Mohammad Rafiq Sheikh went missing with his Sumo vehicle on June 16, 2002. Rafiq was allegedly taken away by 34 Rashtriya Rifles men when he was on his way to Jammu carrying passengers. He was taken to Parimpora and after that there had been no clue about his whereabouts. His brothers Bashir Ahmad and Shamim Ahmad, who are with the police department, said that after sometime an acquaintance of their family told them that he met Rafiq in April 2003 outside an Army camp in Beerwah and he was purchasing vegetables for the unit. 'We then rushed to look for him and went to everybody from the DSP to the IGP but we were not heard,' they said, adding that if he was dead 'we have a right to get the body.' The Jammu and Kashmir Police have started collecting details of missing people. All police stations have been directed to re-verify the details about missing people. 'Yes, we are doing the exercise and updating the details we have. May be some people have returned homes, some are across the border or some are dead,' said a senior police officer.

 

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