‘Rashid Khan Still Has Gun And Can Kill Us All’

Srinagary: Family members of Ghulam Mohammad Khan and Bashir Ahmad Khan – who disappeared in the custody of notorious counter insurgent commander Abdul Rashid Khan, in Kupwara in 1995 – are being threatened by the accused to withdraw case they have filed against him in the state High Court.

The two disappeared from the custody of Rashid Khan who according to their families had summoned them to his base in 1995.

Tariq Ahmad Khan, son of Ghulam Mohammad Khan told Kashmir Observer in Srinagar on Tuesday that: Ever since we filed case against the dreaded Ikhwani, we have been threatened by him.”

Narrating the ordeal he and his family went through in last two decades, Tariq said, in September 1995, I was 10-year-old. My cousin, Bashir Ahmad Khan and my father, Ghulam Mohammad Khan, residents of Kupwara, were summoned by Rashid Khan to his residential house. When the duo didn’t return for a few days my grandmother along with my aunt went to seek their whereabouts.”

When they approached Ikhwani Rashid, he told them that he has sent my father and cousin on a special mission, Tariq revealed. They will be back  home after a week”, Rashid told my grandmother and aunt,” he added.

But 22 years on we are still waiting for their return, he said.

Accompanying Tariq was his Aunt, Taja Begum, whose son Bashir Ahmad and brother Ghulam Mohammad Khan were summoned by Rashid before their disappearance.

“I am helpless”, she said as her eyes turned moist.

“I was terrified that day; I pleaded with my son  not go, but Bashir replied: Mouji (mother), if I will not visit Rashid’s house, I will be killed by his men”.”

Bashir assured her that he will be back soon.

But Rashid killed Bashir and my brother Ghulam Mohammad and dumped their bodies in the forests,” Taja alleged.

I was begging in front of him to seek my son’s release but he was unmoved. I swear by these grapes I don’t know where your son is and burst in to laughter along with his men”- Taja Begum

Recollecting her memory of the time when she went to Ikhwani’s house, Taja Begum said: “When I went to Rashid’s house, he was eating grapes along with his body guards. I was begging in front of him to seek my son’s release but he was unmoved. After some time, he suddenly responded with sarcasm: I swear by these grapes I don’t know where your son is and burst in to laughter along with his men”, said Taja Begum.

“Three months after I filed a case in Kupwara Police Station, Rashid summoned me thrice but I did not pay any heed. But one day he along with his men came to my home and threatened to kill me along with my other family members, she claimed. Take back your case otherwise I will kill your other sons”, Rashid threatened.

“Rashid Khan recently visited our house again and offered us Rs one lakh to withdraw the case”, Tariq said.

“I told him that I will give him two lakh rupees if he returns my father. This frustrated him and he told me that he still has weapons and he can kill all of my family members if we do not withdraw the case”,” Tariq added.

Srinagar based human rights lawyer, Parvez Imroz, said, “Rashid Khan is a notorious Ikhwani but he is roaming scot-free”.”

Despite being involved in number of cases related to enforced disappearances and extortion, he has never been held accountable for his misdeeds, he informed.

Imroz claimed that Rashid Khan has killed more than 200 people in Kupwara district alone most of whom belonged to Jamaat-e-Islami.

“In a single night, Rashid Khan killed 29 people in Kupwara but he was never tried in any court. There are nine cases of murder registered against him but he has never been called to court,” Imroz added. Rashid has successfully imposed silence in Kupwara.”

“The big success for him is that he has managed to silence people in Kupwara by his brutality and nobody was willing to come out to speak against him but now people are coming out”, Imroz, who heads JKCCS, said.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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