‘Where is the body, the remains? I want to know. I want to see’

Muzamil Jaleel in The Indian Express:

The report by the J&K State Human Rights Commission establishing the presence of unmarked graves in Kashmir holding 2,156 unidentified bodies has given a glimmer of hope to hundreds who have been grieving for their spouses, siblings, children and friends who have gone missing over the past two decades, without any news.

As their wait for a closure, one way or the other, may now be just a DNA test away, here are stories of some of them:

A knock on the door one cold night

It has been nine years but Bilquees Manzoor hasn’t forgotten that knock on the door of their house at Rawalpora on the cold night of January 18. “When we opened the door, we found soldiers waiting outside,” says the 26-year-old. “They pushed us aside and started searching the house. When they finally left, they took my father along.” Manzoor Ahmad Dar had returned from his chemist shop just hours before. Bilquees says she and her family tried to resist but were pushed aside. Then only 17, she began searching for her father, starting from the Army camp where the raiding party of soldiers was stationed. “He (Major Malhotra) told us that he has been picked up for questioning and would be released soon,” she says. Bilquees says it was Major Malhotra who led the soldiers who picked up her father.

Some time later, a probe was initiated into the custodial disappearance of Dar. On the basis of the inquiry, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, directed the Sadar Police Station to register a case against Major Malhotra and his men of 35 Rashtriya Rifles. But when they still got no news of Dar, the family approached the J&K High Court. On its directions, the DGP constituted a special team to investigate the case. The police sent several written communications to the Army and asked them to produce Major Malhotra and other accused soldiers before the inquiry officer. However, police say, there was no response from the Army. The accused Army officer was meanwhile shifted to Assam and promoted as Colonel with the Assam Regiment. More:

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