SRINAGAR – The custodial disappearance of a city youth took a new turn late last week when his mother while deposing before an army court named and identified the army officer allegedly involved in the case. She sought the transfer of the case from Banihal to a civil court in Srinagar.
Narrating the heart-rending story of the custodial disappearance of her 19-year old son, Muhammad Husain son of Muhammad Yousuf of Chaudhry Bagh, Mir Behri (Dal) here, the traumatized mother, Khazira Begum, told the army court at Banihal that he had gone to Balhama near Khrew after joining Friday prayers at Asar-e-Sharif Durgah Hazratbal and having a glimpse of the Prophets holy relic on May 23, 2003.
After overnight stay with a friend, Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, he was on his way back home on Saturday. He passed by a spot near Balhama, Sempora, where an army vehicle had developed a snag. When the soldiers called him, he left the spot out of fear. However, the troopers swooped on him and took him to nearby Choudhry Ramzan Workshop where he was kept for the night. At 10 am next day, he was taken into custody with army officer, Major Bal Krishen, whisking him away to some unknown place, she said.
Khazira Begum said the news about her sons arrest by the army was conveyed to the family on the same day at 4 pm by Ali Muhammad, elder son of Ghulam Ahmad. For a week, they went from pillar to post to trace out the boy till they came to know that he had been lodged in an army camp at Khrew. An official from Police Station, Pantha Chowk, and two other eyewitnesses, Muhammad Yasin and Bashir Ahmad, in whose presence the army had arrested Husain, pleaded with Major Bal Krishen and others at the camp for his release.
The sobbing mother said the army officer had assured her of Husains release on the next day. However, soon after we left the army camp, we were told he had been set free, she told the court, adding she had also filed a case against the army in the High Court where the army had stated the boy had been released. She said the High Court had asked the army to clarify to whom the released boy had been handed over. The case is also pending before a lower court. Because of the trauma, she said, the boys father had developed heart ailment while his sister was suffering from psychological disorder.
Making a revelation, Khazira Begum said that nine years after the custodial disappearance of her son, the family had got a summons from Banihal based army court to appear before it on November 16, 2012. Accompanied by her ailing husband and son-in-law, Arshad Sultan, she appeared before the court and deposed the entire story about the disappearance of her son. She identified the army officer allegedly involved in the case. An unknown person, Abdul Khaliq Pampori of Khonmoh, was also present in the army court during the hearing, she said.
Khazira said the case was listed for next hearing on December 4. However, she urged the High Court Bar Association to get the case transferred to a city-based civil court as she could ill afford to visit Banihal for the hearings. She also appealed to the chief minister, Omar Abdullah, to intervene in the matter and get the case transferred to the civil court. (KNS)
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