HC Gives Police Week to Report on Missing 'Fidayeen'

SRINAGAR: The High Court on Wednesday gave the state police one week to file a detailed status diary on a Lawaypora youth who, according to his mother, disappeared in army custody in 2003, but was named in media reports last month as planning a fidayeen attack in Srinagar.

In a hearing before Justice Hasnain Masoodi on Wednesday, police officers said that investigations in the case were in progress, and that editors of the newspapers publishing the reports had been questioned.

A newspaper each from Jammu and Srinagar had, on March 24 and 27 respectively, quoted police sources as having said that Shaukat Ahmad Paul of Lawaypora was planning a fidayeen attack in the city along with three others, named as Bilal Molvi of Palhalan, Chota Hamza and Adu Sa’ad.

The reports appeared shortly after a deadly fidayeen attack in the Benina quarter of upper Srinagar in which five CRPF men killing along with three attackers.

Paul’s mother, Farida Bano, insists that he was picked up by one Major Pratap of the 2nd RR from Pratap Park area of the central city on June 23, 2003, and has been untraced since.

According to Farida, Paul, in his final year of graduation, was returning home from the Amar Singh College when he was picked up.

In her petition to the High Court soon after last month’s report describing Paul as a fidayeen, Farida has also sought orders to the Indian defence ministry to disclose her son’s whereabouts.  

Fearing that security agencies might eliminate Paul under the pretext of a fidayeen attack, she had earlier brought the media reports to the notice of the Kothi Bagh police station where a First Information Report (FIR) over her sons disappearance had been filed in 2005.

She has said that during investigations on the FIR, police had also recorded statements from one Khursheed Ahmad, an associate of Major Pratap, who testified that her son had been picked up by the army officer.

“We have been patiently waiting for the police investigation to be completed, nothing has been done. The police has neither found my son, nor filed a proper challlan,” Farida has said in her petition.

In her eight-year-long fight to find her son, Paul’s mother had begun by reporting his disappearance to the Parimpora police station a day after the failed to return home.

Subsequently, she moved the State Human Rights Commission, but the then inspector general of police (IGP) here told the SHRC on September 11, 2003 that all efforts to trace Paul had failed.

“Later, on July 25 we came to know that Paul had been arrested by one Major Pratap of the Kilo Force of the 2 RR based in Shariefabad,” Farida has told the court.

“We brought this too to the notice of the Parimpora police station, but there was no progress,” she has said.

“We then approached the chief judicial magistrate for Srinagar seeking orders to the Parimpora police to file a case against Major Partap over my son’s disappearance,” she has said.

“The precinct confirmed that we had filed a complaint against Major Pratap, but said that they had told us that the case came under the Kothi Bagh police station as the incident had occurred within the area of its jurisdiction,” she has said.

“It was only after the CJM’s orders that an FIR was lodged at the Kothi Bagh police station and an investigation begun,” she has said.

“But nothing has come out of it so far,” she said.

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