Wednesday, May 29, 2024

“We even don’t know where he has been buried”: Kashmiri parents say their son killed in a staged encounter

Mother with the photograph of Imaran Qayyoom Dar. Photo: Malik Nisar/Maktoob


The killing of the elder son Imran has left many questions unanswered and the deep scars on the Abdul Qayoom Dar’s family of Batengoo Anantnag. Until recently, the family was in search of a match for him, but little did they know that Arafa day (a day before Eid) will be his last day at home.

It has been five days since Imran Qayoom was killed, and while Qayoom, father of Imran remembers every detail, he says it’s totally an apocalypse for his family. Had he been more vocal, events might have turned differently.

Imran Qayoom Dar, 31, Qayoom’s eldest son was killed in an encounter on July 25, in Munund village of Kulgam district in Jammu and Kashmir. The next day, it turned out that the ‘slain militant’ was actually a civilian from Batengoo Anantnag.

“We have ample proof that my brother was a civilian killed in a staged encounter. I still can’t believe Imran is no more with us. How? A person can turn a militant in a matter of one day with no sign of militancy or any anti-national FIR registered against him,” brother Zahid Qayoom told Maktoob.

Imran was working as a marketing executive with a leading electrical appliance manufacturing company but had left the job due to coronavirus lockdown and was searching for a new job.

“A day before Eid, Imran had an argument with his father and left home, but this kind of argument had happened in past as well and Imran would often visit relatives and stay there instead of coming home as a mark of protest,” adds Zahid, a postgraduate management student.

Abdul Qayoom Dar who works in the state road transport corporation department was in Kulgam at his office on a fateful day. When he got the call from the police department but, he didn’t pay that much heed to what the person from another side of the phone had told him. “I work in the transport department as a driver, so I am always on run. Later in the day, I got another call from the police department. Officer told me to come for identification. I was stunned, my world turned upside down,” said Abdul Qayoom with a woeful voice.

For Ambreen, the killing of her elder brother has taken a toll on her emotionally. “I and my brother are facing scores of people coming to comfort us,” Ambreen said to Maktoob.

“Responding to the same question (what happened to Imran?) over and over is killing me internally. It’s not that I don’t mean well but I am still coming to terms with the reality of him not being here,” she says.

The world as Aambreen knew it had ceased to exist. Like every youngster, her mobile was the extension of herself. “Now I don’t look at my phone because I know bhai (Imran) is not going to call me. I wish I had died with him,” says Ambreen, a law graduate student.

The family has written to Jammu and Kashmir government for proper investigation of the case so that everything will be crystal clear and truth will come out. They also have asked for the retrieve of the dead body.

“I request your goodself kindly look into the matter personally and help the family to retrieve his dead body and an FIR should be lodged to investigate the matter properly so that justice is delivered as we are a law-abiding family,” Imran’s father wrote in a letter to deputy commissioner, Anantnag Piyush Singla.

“We even don’t know where my brother has been buried. Government should properly investigate the case and also should help us in bringing the body back, so that we can give proper burial and goodbye to him one last time. It is our fundamental right. said Ambreen.

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For Ambreen, the killing of her elder brother has taken a toll on her emotionally. “I and my brother are facing scores of people coming to comfort us,” Ambreen said to Maktoob. Photo: Malik Nisar/Maktoob

In an official statement, the Jammu and Kashmir police said: “Based on specific input about the presence of militants in village Sursano Kulgam, a cordon and search operation was launched by Kulgam police and 34RR. During the search operation, the militants hiding in the orchards started firing indiscriminately upon security forces, which retaliated, leading to an encounter… In the ensuing encounter, one militant was killed whose identity is yet to be ascertained. Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the dead body. All the recovered material has been taken into case records for further investigation and to probe their complicity in other terror crimes.”

Senior superintendents of police Anantnag and Kulgam district did not respond to repeated calls from Maktoob.

For the last eight months, many families, particularly from South Kashmir, have claimed that their kin were killed in fake encounters later dubbed as militants.

On June 30, young cricketer Zakir Bashir 17 was killed in Chimmer village of Kulgam district. While the police had claimed that Zakir was involved in militancy, his family disputed the police claims.

“He was not a militant. He was dragged out of his house with his brother, Ashiq, by government forces during the cordon. And was shot few meters from his home,” the brother-in-law of Zakir told a local news magazine.

In December last year, three families from twin districts of south Kashmir claimed their kin were killed in staged encounter in Lawaypora area of Srinagar later dubbed as militants.

Syed Bilal from Anantnag contributed for the story.

Malik Nisar
Malik Nisar
Malik Nisar is an independent journalist based in Kashmir.
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