APDP’s 2019 Calendar: An old plea in a new year: Where are our loved ones you took?
Srinagar, Jan 15: For the third straight year, the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) Tuesday released a calendar reiterating the forced disappearances of the thousands of people during the last three decades of political conflict in Kashmir.
A group of people, longing for their snatched loved ones, displayed the calendar at Srinagar’s Pratap Park; their silence asking the same questions they have been asking for years now: How long do we wait? Where is our kin? Are they dead? Can we, at least, get their bodies back?
The title page of the calendar bears a moving illustration by the noted sketch-artist, Suhail Naqshbandi: A female clad in red pheran, half of her face mournful and weary, the other half worn down to bare bones as she holds a photo of the disappeared person she has been longing for. A few shades of dark and grey that look like a cloud form the background.
Inside are 12 leaves, each carrying a sketch of the disappeared person, with a brief bio of the person–where, when and in what circumstances the person was taken.
Among the parents of the disappeared ones is Ali Mohammad Dar from Noorpora Magam.
His 18-year-old son, Ghulam Mohiuddin, was picked up by the government forces in 1991, never to return.
Dar says the calendar made him realize that he was not the only one who lost his son.“There are hundreds of parents like me,” said Dar, whose forehead was strapped with a bandage as he had recently met with an accident.
Chairperson APDP, Parveena Ahanger—whose own son is among the victims of forced disappearance––said that coming out with the calendar was an attempt to keep alive the stories of the missing ones.
“There have been so many disappearances in Kashmir that two calendars could not feature them all. We released the third one and will continue to feature all others too in the coming years,” she said.
Parveena said that APDP was planning to send the calendars out of Kashmir too, especially to the educational institutions, so that the people and students outside the valley know about the tragedies that have befallen the families of the disappeared.“It has been 29 years now since our loved ones disappeared. I ask both the government of Jammu and Kashmir, and India that if they deny our beloved ones’ disappearances then where are they? At least, handover their dead bodies if they aren’t alive!” a teary-eyed Parveena pled.
Asked about the inquiry by High Court and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) regarding the disappearances, Ahanger said: “Court (referring to judiciary) only does ‘inquiry’ and avoids our cases by directing them to SHRC. When court, which is the highest authority, is not able to deliver justice, what can we expect from SHRC?”
Parveena said she did not trust the politicians who “claim to help but in reality are interested in gaining power”. “I trust my Lord. We APDP) will continue this movement till our last breath and will ensure that none from the younger generation suffers like we did.”
APDP is an organization that was begun as a one woman endeavour.
Parveena, who had lost her son in the ‘90s, strived to mobilise and provide support to other such families, who had lost their loved ones to enforced disappearances.
Her aim: to put pressure on the authorities to investigate the estimated 8000-10,000 cases of involuntary and enforced disappearances in Kashmir.