Caught in the cycle of detention

In 2010, two ‘unknown’ militants, carrying a bag of weapons, entered a house in North Kashmir’s Sopore town. The ultras made a dangerous request. They wanted their weapons to be hidden. Refusal wasn’t an option, complying has led to unending spell of arrests and trouble for the Dar family in the apple town.


Today, students of University of Kashmir protested in the campus against yet another tragedy that has befallen them. Their youngest son Munazir Ahmad Dar, a commerce student at the varsity, has gone missing since past four days. The family blames the Special Operation Group of the police for picking up their 22-year-old son. The counter militancy wing, however, refutes the charge and says he is in ‘touch with his militant brother’.


Manazir’s eldest brother joined militancy a year ago; the family say the university student was picked up as they were unable to locate his militant brother.  Mudasir Ahmad Dar, who is the second among three brothers, says ‘our elder brother Muzamil Ahmad Dar joined Lashkar-e-Toiba about a year ago’.


He says: “On the Eid-ul-Adha of 2010, two militants came in our house and handed their bag, full of weapons, to my mother, Dilshada, and told her to hide it and they left.” His mother hid the bag in a well. But, he says, Army came to know about the weapons and raided our house. “My mother gave them the weapons, but she was beaten,” he alleges.


Post the incident, an Kadetention spell started for the family. “Soon after the incident, they arrested Muzamil (presently militant) and detained him for about 2 to 4 days. Then they detained me, my father, Muzamil and Munazir. After a month I and Munazir were released but our father and Muzamil were kept under detention,” he says.


Muhammad Amin Dar, their father, was released after five months ago, he says. “But Muzamil was slapped with PSA (Public Safety Act). He served 11 month detention and was released after court quashed his PSA,” he says.


Muzamil, currently a Lashkar militant, worked as a theater assistant.  Mudasir says: “He had done theater center training and soon after his release he got job in SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, as theater assistant. He worked there for six months.”


“In February, Home Minister P Chidambaram announced that they have arrested two people, Ahtisham and Tauseef from Delhi in connection with a militant attack and named my brother – Muzamil – as the mastermind. After the announcement our house was raided by forces,” he said. Mudasir says: “Forces asked us about Muzamil but we honestly told them that he is not here, he is on duty.”


“My father assured them as soon as he returns we will come to police station along with Muzamil,” Mudasir, father of a two-year-old girl, says. Next day Mudasir went to SMHS Hospital for his brother but didn’t find him. “His associates told me that he had left Hospital at 3:00 PM yesterday,” he says.


“Since then, nobody from the family has met him, but police and Army raids continued on our house” he claims.


Mudasir accused forces of ‘torture’ saying: “One day I along with my father were picked up by forces. They asked us about Muzamil, we said, we have no information. They tortured us severely. My father was beaten, his arm was fractured.”


“They said that he is a militant associated with Lashkar, you people meet him. My father told them that go and search him. Why are you terrorizing us? He never met us since that date,” says Mudasir.


A highly charged Mudasir says: “My father told them that if you can prove he met us you can kill us.” The family says the harassment by the forces continued. Mudasir, claims: “Sometimes they say we will blast your house, kill you people in fake encounter and shoot you one by one.”


“Munazir got admission in Kashmir University. But they started to target him. They kept saying that Munazir meets his militant brother, they started demanding Munazir even after my father told them that he doesn’t met him,” says Mudasir.


The family says they received a call from local police recently asking for Manazir who was scheduled to go on picnic with his department. In order to take money for the excursion he headed to his home in Noorbagh area of the town.  Mudasir says: “Before four days he came to home for money as they were scheduled to go on picnic but he was called by police station. We took him to police station where he was handed over to cops, who were from Srinagar Cargo.”


He says: “After that we were denied permission to meet him.” Munazir, has been reportedly been shifted back to Sopore. His father told Kashmir Dispatch: “I received a call from police and he said that Munazir has been shifted to Sopore.”


Despite several attempts, SDPO Sheergari police station couldn’t be reached. Top police officers in Sopore said they had not picked the boy and he is under detention of Srinagar Cargo.