Ravinder Sharma, Lanc Naik in BSF, Rajauri, had come specially to take part in Faridkot bandh, which was in protest of the 27 missing persons in the last 18 months from this district.
His 16-year-old son Adarsh Sharma and his nephew Harshit Sharma (18) went missing in October 16, 2013 and there is no trace of the duo till date. Ravinder’s family stays in Faridkot, while he is posted in Rajauri these days. Harshit, his sister’s son, had also come to Faridkot from Solan in October and he, alongwith Adarsh the duo had gone out to get guavas that day, but they never came back. Ravinder never got any ransom call and he does not suspect anyone. However till date police has not been able to find even a single clue about the youth.
Gurvinder Singh, 22, is yet another youngster who spoke with his father on February 19, 2013 that he was near Kotakpura traffic lights and was about to reach home, but did not turn up. When his father, Lakhwinder, dialled his number again it went switched off and even the mobile tower location indicated that mobile was not used at any other location after that. Lakhwinder too, stated that till date his son is untraced.
And so was the case with 23-year-old Manoj Kapur, who was an insurance agent. On May 25, 2014 he got a call from some person to reach at bus stand. He went but never came back, said his father Prem Kumar. “Who was the caller, nobody knows and even his mobile went switched off after that,” said Kumar.
Lodging a protest against 27 such cases, Faridkot residents observed complete bandh, while blaming the police for not solving even a single case. A protest dharna was organised at Dana Mandi under the banner of Missing Persons’ Action Committee, which was supported by kisan unions, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Punjab Students Union and many other unions. All markets, schools, colleges remained closed and even small kiosks were seen shut, which indicated the extent of public anger against the city police.
Kuldeep Kumar Sharma, leading the action committee, said: “Police has booked kidnapping cases in all the 27 incidents, out of which majority of the victims are less than 30 years of age and about six are girls. It is a matter of great concern that not even a single person has been found till date.”
Rajinder Singh, from Punjab Students Union, said that if police are not able to solve this case, they will intensify the protest at state level.
Earlier, one 13-year-old girl Neetu also went missing and two persons — who were in the list of suspects in her case — had committed suicide in UP. Residents had protested about this incident in the recent past also.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Faridkot, SS Kahlon told The Sunday Express: “These are all cases which happened in the last two years and not even in a single ransom call came in these cases. Even the families have not indicated any enmity. Now a special investigation team(SIT) has been formed again under my supervision and we will study case by case once again, though our officers had probed the cases thoroughly even in the past as well.”
Meanwhile action committee members said that while 27 persons went missing in Faridkot, in Punjab — in 2013 — 736 persons went missing, out of which there is no trace of 556 persons.
The action committee members also did not rule out the possibility of involvement of human trafficking gangs, as neither the persons nor their bodies have been recovered till date.
Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh meanwhile announced that he will stage a dharna outside the house of Home Minister Rajnath Singh presenting him the sad condition of the state. In addition to this, protesting residents also demanded to appoint IPS officers at top positions instead of PPS officers.