Forced disappearance: Calender prepared for missing people in Valley

In the first of its kind initiative, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in J&K has came out with a 2016 calendar, where each month has the sketch and story of one missing person. They hope having to stare at the sketch of a missing person for 30 days at a stretch will help add momentum to their struggle.

Human rights abuses in the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir state are an ongoing issue. The abuses range from mass killings, forced disappearances, torture to political repression.

The worst victim of human rights violations in the Valley are those whose husbands and sons have gone missing in ‘Forced disappearance’, a term that refers to people who go missing after allegedly being taken away by security personnel.

Each month, hundreds of women, young and old, gather in the sprawling fields of the Himalayan territory controlled by India. These women seek information about their loved ones that went missing years ago.

On January 20, 1990, 28-year-old autorickshaw driver Abdul Hamid Badhiyari was allegedly picked up by Indian Army personnel from Srinagar. His family — wife and two children — haven’t heard of him since.

Mohammad Latif Khan, a 36-year-old potter in Chandanwari village of north Kashmir, was taken away on July 14, 1990, allegedly by the CRPF. His wife and three children are awaiting his return. Similar is the story of Javaid Ahmad Dar, an eight-year-old boy from Sopore, whose family has not heard from him since October 3, 1990.

These are not just the cases Abdul, Mohammed and Javed, but an estimated 10,000 cases of what is commonly known as “forced disappearances”. The Human right activists say the exact number is can’t be predicted, it might be double as many cases go unreported.

The disappearance of such men have often been linked by activists to police or security forces action.Wives of disappeared men often face various Socio-economic uncertainties too. Since most of the disappeared men are from rural Kashmir, these widows usually live impoverished lives.

“Governments came and went, but we haven’t received any information as to where our sons have gone”, said one mother. Not letting the hope, the families of the disappeared vows to continue fight for the truth about their beloved ones.

APDP has printed 4,000-odd copies of the calendar so far and aims to distribute them primarily among families of those who disappeared. The remaining copies would then be given to media organizations, human rights bodies and non-government organizations fighting for information on “forced” disappearances in the Valley. The APDP, which has kept the struggle going for more than two decades, has also come up with postcards along the same lines. The calendar also carries poignant quotes and poetry from famous Urdu and Kashmiri poets.