After 16 Yrs, Brothers From Kashmir In Tearful Delhi Reunion

After 16 Yrs, Brothers From Kashmir In Tearful Delhi Reunion

29 March 2013
The Indian Express
Sumegha Gulati

New Delhi: The last time Inayat Shah saw his brother Liyaqat was in 1997, as he left for the fields after lunch. Liyaqat never came back. The brothers met again on Friday - after 16 years - in circumstances neither could have imagined. The first sight the brothers set on each other were blurred by tears, Inayat, the older of the two, told The Indian Express after their meeting in a room in the Delhi Police Special Cell office in south Delhi. Delhi Police say Liyaqat is a Hizbul Mujahideen militant who was planning to carry out a terror attack in the capital; both Liyaqat's family and the J&K Police insist he was trying to cross over into India under the state government's rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants. 'I went inside his cell alone. He was wearing a white suit. I couldn't recognise him; he has lost so much weight, he has become so weak. He left as a handsome young man... We hugged and wept for a long time,' Inayat said. According to Inayat, Liyaqat had told him that the Special Cell had arrested the 'wrong man' as a result of some 'confusion'. 'Inko kuchh dhokha hua hai aur inhone mujhe pakad liya hai,' Inayat quoted Liyaqat as having told him. After meeting Inayat, Liyaqat also spoke to his first wife Amina and the brothers' ailing mother in Dardpora in Kupwara district, Inayat said. Both women broke down upon hearing Liyaqat's voice. He consoled them, promising to return soon, Inayat said. 'He told them that if God so willed, he would be back home in no time. He was also dying to see his children, his son Saddam (from Amina) and daughter Jabeena (from his second wife Akhtara),' Inayat said. He said he had taken two pairs of white and cream Kashmiri 'Khan dress' for Liyaqat. 'He asked me stay here for two more days. He said we could then go back home together,' Inayat said, tears welling up in his brown eyes. Inayat, who was accompanied by the family's 20-year-old neighbour Farooq, then met Special Cell officials, who he said assured him that no harm would come to Liyaqat. 'I felt so helpless, I could not stop myself from crying,' Inayat said. 'But the policemen told me not to worry. They said they had kept Liyaqat well and assured me he would not have a problem.' Inayat said the officials had then asked him if he knew anyone in Delhi, and on being told that this was the first time the 50-year-old had ventured out of Kashmir, had escorted him to a guest house nearby. Liyaqat, who is 10 years younger than Inayat, is the second of three brothers. Inayat said he had been 'forced' to join militancy, leaving behind his young wife and two infant children. 'His children were so small when he left that he can't even remember their faces now,' Inayat said. The family faced acute hardship in Liyaqat's absence. His children never went to school, and Amina was reduced practically to begging, Inayat said. Liyaqat, who was in PoK, would call as frequently as he could. After the brothers' father died 10 years ago, he was determined to return, Inayat said. The rehabilitation policy came as godsend, he said. The family filled in the forms along with the families of 18 other former militants. 'I sold off one canal out of the 3 canals of land we own. I have four children to bring up, apart from my wife and our mother. It was very difficult,' Inayat said. On his part, Liyaqat sold his house and small shop in Muzaffarabad to raise the money to return. 'Everything seemed to be going fine. Maybe we ran out of luck,' said Inayat.