Detained in 2003, Kashmiri youth figures in terror plot; court seeks clarification

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
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  • Updated: Apr 04, 2013 19:34 IST

In her 50s, Farida Bano has been religiously attending the sit-ins organised by the Association of Parents of Disappeared People (APDP) --  a group formed to trace the missing since the two decades of violent conflict in the Valley -- since 2003 to know status of his missing son.

This March, the search for her son took a new twist when newspapers quoted police sources saying that he was alive and planning a suicide attack in Srinagar.

"It was shocking to see my missing son's name in the news report. I just wept uncontrollably. My son has been missing for the past 10 years," said Bano, mother of Showkat Ahmad Paul.

Paul, according to the family, was was allegedly taken into custody on June 23, 2003 by an army unit.

"Paul was taken by the officer to an unknown place and was not released from the illegal captivity. We lodged an FIR with the police soon after his arrest, and later it was proved that he was arrested by Major Pratap," said Bano.

On March 24, Jammu and Kashmir's two widely circulated newspapers mentioned the name of Paul among four others planning a terror attack. The news report also quoted police sources.

"How can the police make such a claim when my son was arrested. If he is alive, let the police tell us about his whereabouts. We are sure that he is in police custody," she said.

The family approched the high court, which on Wednesday directed the police to produce all records, including case diaries and report of investigation pertaining to an FIR (8/2005) registered under section 364 of RPC about Paul, a resident of Lawaypora, Srinagar.

The court sought the government's response to the reports carried by the newspapers.

The family's petition also sought directions to Union of India through ministry of defence to disclose the whereabouts of her son.

Paul was 29-year-old and a college student when he was allegedly picked up.

According to human rights groups, around 3,000 youth have disappeared in Kashmir since militancy broke out.

The government suggests they might have crossed over the Line Of Control but several families maintain they disappeared in security agencies' custody.


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