November 14, 2010

I am always losing control on my mind and patience whenever there is any mention of my missing son.”

Sheikh Gowhar Ayoub, a 19-year-old college student, was picked up at around 3 pm on 4

August 1995 by army personnel of the 7 Jat Regiment, when he was walking home from Bemina Degree College, Srinagar. Several relatives and passers-by witnessed the arrest but army subsequently denied holding him. On 5 August 1995 his family filed a complaint at Batamaloo police station, Srinagar (FIR 19/95). The family was reportedly informed by another detainee that he had seen Sheikh Gowhar Ayoub in army custody. On 26 September 1995, a habeas corpus petition (No341/95) was filed in the High Court. A further petition (No 539/95) was filed on 26 December 1995. The petitions were heard in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court but the state respondents failed to bring Sheikh Gowhar Ayub to court as ordered by the judge or to explain what had happened to him.

A letter dated 18 September 1995 from Brigadier Arjun Ray to Lt. General D.D. Saklani,

Advisor (Home) to the then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir stated that Sheikh Gowhar Ayub was apprehended “and the unit released him inadvertently on its own without involving the police. The unit is trying to locate the individual. ... It is also learnt that the aforesaid individual is a militant belonging to TUM group and in all probability would have rejoined militancy. According to the victim’s family, Sheikh Gowhar Ayub had no connection with any political group. In April 1996, the court directed the respondents to place proof of their assertions of the release of Sheikh Gowhar Ayoub before the court. It is not known if the respondents have complied with this direction.

A judicial inquiry was subsequently set up on High Court orders under the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar. Following police failure to cooperate with the inquiry and to appear in the court at a hearing on 18 December 1997 as directed, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar issued nonbailable warrants relating to contempt of court against the SHO.

In August 1998, in response to an inquiry by Amnesty International regarding the “Disappearance” of Sheikh Gowhar Ayub, the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission replied by forwarding, without comment, a report of the Inspector General of Police, CID, J&K Camp Srinagar dated February 1996 which repeated the army statement quoted above. The mother of Sheikh Gowhar Ayoub, a widow, wrote to Amnesty International: “The way you have taken interest to locate my son has given me determination that humanity has not been wiped off from this world where cruelty has become a routine matter. Kindly forgive me for becoming emotional. I am always losing control on my mind and patience whenever there is any mention of my missing son.

Source:Amnesty International Report of 1999

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