Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lest we forget

14 yrs on, poor Gujjar woman fights for her missing son
Naseer A Ganai
Srinagar, Nov 22: It has been a long legal battle in search of her disappeared son, but 14 years down the line, Zaitoon Begum, 50, refuses to give up.
Her ordeal began on January 26, 1992, when the Dogra Regiment of Army took her son Nazir Ahmad Khan, 23 into custody along with his two neighbors Abdul Majid Khan and Muhammad Ayoub Khan
from Gujjarpatti village of Bandipora.
Later the two neighbors were released, but Army straightway denied the arrest of Nazir. Though shocked by the denial, Zaitoon didn’t give up. She went to the camp many a time. The repeated refusal of the Army forced her to move to the High Court. She filed a petition through her lawyer BA Tak in the court to seek whereabouts of her son.
“She is very poor and her husband has paralysis but she is a brave mother,” Tak said. “Years of struggle have not disillusioned her and she continues her fight for justice. She was harassed but nothing stopped her.”
On November 1, 1994 the court directed the District and Sessions Judge Varmul to hold an enquiry in her case.
The court conducted inquiry and found that Nazir Ahmad was really arrested by SD Singh and RP Singh, officials of the Dogra Regiment, and recommended to the concerned police station to register an FIR under section 302 of RPC against them. The police followed the court directions.
Last Thursday, Zaitoon along with her six children was in Srinagar in connection with the case in the High Court. “I am ailing and that is why I have brought my children here to show them where to pursue the case and whom to approach in case of my death,” Zaitoon said.
Praising the counsel, she said, he has never demanded any money from me. “Had he asked for it, I and my little children would have worked as labourers to pay him,” she said.
Tak said he was not alone who was fighting her case. “There are several others including GN Shaheen and MA Khan who are fighting the case,” he said.
The case is in final stage, said Tak.
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