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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Kashmir abduction-murders: Families search for answers

The Hizbul Mujahideen has released multiple videos, claiming that the two slain youth were working for the Army.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Shopian | Updated: November 19, 2018 9:17:42 am
Nadeem’s father and other family members. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

On Thursday evening, when Manzoor Ahmad Bhat came to know that four armed men were looking for his 17-year-old son, he said he was “happy” and assumed that they would teach him a “lesson”.

“My son was a drug addict. I thought they were looking for him to give him a warning (for taking drugs), which might force him to stop,” the 50-year-old baker in Shopian district’s Safanagri village said.

Bhat was wrong. His 17-year-old son Nadeem Manzoor was abducted from their village and later killed. His body was found in a nearby village in Pulwama district.

There has been a spate of civilian abductions since Thursday evening in south Kashmir. Eight youth were abducted, of which two were killed and the others released. On Sunday, police officials said one youth was abducted in the morning from Shopian’s Memender area, and was later released.

The Hizbul Mujahideen has released multiple videos, claiming that the two slain youth were working for the Army.

At their two-storey house in Safanagri, the entire Bhat clan is in mourning. Family members say Nadeem was taking drugs, but now they have more reasons to be ashamed of him – in one of the videos released by the Hizbul Mujahideen, he admitted to informing the Army about the presence of militants in his village on November 6. Two militants were killed in the resultant encounter.

The family said that if Nadeem really was an informer, then “this punishment is less for him”.

“He (Nadeem) then deserves a much bigger punishment. But if he was innocent, then it is between god and those who killed my son,” Manzoor told The Indian Express on Sunday.

“His (Nadeem’s) act has brought disrespect to our family. We appeal to everyone in Kashmir, including militant groups, to forgive us for his act,” said his uncle, Abdul Hamid Bhat.

“We don’t know if he was truthful or he made that statement under any pressure,” said another uncle.

Sartaj Ahmad Bhat, Nadeem’s elder brother, said he appeared indifferent to the fact that armed men were looking for him.

“I asked him whether he was involved in any controversial thing… I even said he could leave for Jammu till the matter gets sorted out. But he was not scared… He told me that he would go to meet them because he was not involved in anything other than taking drugs,” Sartaj said.

However, he said Nadeem was present at home on the night of November 6(when the encounter took place), watching a movie on his mobile.

In Kulgam district’s Manzgam village, the family of 19-year-old Huzaif Ashraf is looking for answers as to why their son was abducted and killed by militants on Friday.

Huzaif and two others were abducted from Saidpora payeen in Shopian on Friday. Huzaif, a baker in Saidpora payeen, was living with his uncle. The other two abducted with him, including his cousin, were released the same day.

While the militants released a video after killing Nadeem, there is no video which says why Huzaif was killed.

Huzaif’s uncle Mohammed Amin Ganai says two masked men carrying arms came in a car and took the three away. “My son was also abducted along with Huzaif…I received a call from my son in the afternoon to tell me he had been released,” Amin told The Indian Express on Sunday.

Amin said he suspects that Huzaif’s being on “friendly terms” with Army personnel might be a reason why he was killed.

“Being there (at the shop), I have heard he was friends with some Army person who used to buy bread from him,” Amin said.

Huzaif’s father Mohammed Ashraf said, “We have only seen a video on the internet about my son’s dead body… No one knows why was he killed and no video has been released. I am waiting for the answers. Whosoever killed my son at least should tell us why he was killed.”

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