When a Budgam man returned home after 18 years of disappearance, his hometown erupted in joy amid Covid pandemic this summer. Akin to this curious case, Kashmir’s missing list is strewn with solved, unsolved, mysterious and sensational cases.
WHEN Ghulam Mohidin Shah, 58, suddenly resurfaced in his hometown in July 2020, festive scenes uplifted the Covid gloom in Khag Budgam. The man’s unexpected appearance ended his 18-year-long missing mystery.
Shah was planning to visit Saudi Arabia for work in 2002, when his family lost touch with him.
After their extensive search failed to trace his whereabouts, they presumed him dead until his sudden homecoming ended their agony.
Before Shah, however, Kashmir had witnessed many such cases. Some of them are still a mystery while some cases get solved by themselves.
The woman who crossed LOC
Shaheena Begum was married in Nambla village of Uri for around 12 years. She was staying with her four children and husband in a rented house in the main town.
One day Shaheena went to visit her relatives in Sahoora village, one of the last villages on Line of Control (LoC) in Uri. The village is manned by the army contingent. She informed her husband and the officials at the fence gate about her visit to relatives.
Some hours later, the officials at the exit gate alerted everyone when she didn’t report back. The family shortly registered a missing person case in the Uri police station.
But soon, it was found out that after crossing the LoC, Shaheena had called her family—informing them that she has crossed the fence and was in good health.
The mysterious case of Ghulam Qadir
The police came across the missing case of Ghulam Qadir when his cousin Mohammad Yusuf, a resident of Halla Dhundrath complained about it on July 30, 2007, one month after Qadir’s disappearance.
With no witnesses, the case remained a mystery for the police until in 2015 when the Special Investigation Team (SIT) successfully investigated it.
The SIT traced an individual who had last seen Qadir along with two people going towards Dumni Galli forests. The man had informed the sleuths that after some time, he only saw two people returning from woods.
Those two men were Mohammad Sharieef and Ghulam Nabi.
Soon nabbed by the SIT, the accused accepted to have killed Qadir by pushing him from the cliff in the remote forest because of some property-related issues.
A ‘secret trekking trip’
When six students from Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST)-K mysteriously left their hostel on August 14, 2018, the varsity authorities alerted police.
Soon, with the help of horsemen, the police investigators successfully traced the six missing boys.
But what seemed to be a missing case turned out to be a “secret trekking trip” planned by the agricultural science students to Gangabal Lake in Ganderbal district!
The two SPOs
Before two Special Police Officers (SPOs)—Shabir Ahmad Dar and Suliman Ahmad Khan—of Jammu & Kashmir Police would disappear with their service rifles in Pulwama in June 2019, cop deserting had become an alarming trend for the state force.
Amid manhunt for deserters, a gunfight between militants and government forces broke out in Panjran area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. In the night-long fierce fight, four militants were killed. Among the slain were the two SPOs who had barely joined the militancy 24 hours ago.
After deserting their units, the twain had reportedly joined Jaish-e-Muhammad.
A Kupwara man in Bhatinda
When 55-year-old-man Bashir Ahmed, a resident of Kupwara, went missing in January 2020, his son alleged that he was picked by the Bhatinda police.
Bashir had come to Bhatinda to earn a living by selling blankets.
His family members and several other Kashmiris and member of Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) met Bhatinda top cop and requested him to trace the missing Kashmiri in Punjab.
In less than 24 hours, police found out that the narcotics cell of Jammu had picked up Bashir as “he was involved in a drug case” registered in J&K in December 2019.
With this revelation, the missing blanket seller’s mystery was put to rest.
The unsolved case of Mehran
On May 13, 2008, Mehran’s mother saw her son last time after he returned home from school. He went to buy sweets from a local shop in Habba Kadal area of Srinagar and never returned.
After efforts by the family, police and crime branch failed to trace the boy, the High Court transferred the case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 29, 2013.
The CBI even announced a big reward for any person giving information about the missing boy. But after an unending investigation, the city court finally accepted CBI’s closure report in the case.
The goldsmith of Sopore
On December 26, 2017, Tariq Malik went missing from his shop ‘Carrat like Gold Shop’ in Chota Bazar, Sopore.
A special investigation team formed to probe the case found out that four persons were involved in the kidnapping of the goldsmith. Their sole purpose was extortion.
The accused later strangulated Malik and threw his body in the Jhelum river.
With the help from local fishermen, police fished out Malik’s body, on January 30, 2018, at Tulibal area. The body was later handed over to the family after the completion of all medical formalities.
And with that, the 35-day-long ‘missing’ mystery ended in Sopore.
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