Girls Go Missing in Kashmir, Stoke Tensions
At least 5 missing from Srinagar alone
SRINAGAR: Young girls ‘mysteriously’ disappearing from different parts of Kashmir, particularly in the capital Srinagar, has sparked anguish among the people with J&K Police failing to make any breakthrough in the cases.
The latest victim of the emerging trend is a 19-year-old girl, Aisha Yasin, a resident of Nowgam locality on the outskirts of Srinagar. The teenage girl has been reported missing by her family since July 17 and a report about her ‘mysterious disappearance’ was filed by her uncle on Thursday.
“She had left home saying that she was going to market. When she didn’t return, we became worried and called our relatives, but in vain. Due to the fear of social stigma, we didn’t tell anyone about it. It was only when the night was over that we informed the police,” Mohammad Yasin, the victim’s father, said.
Aisha is not the only girl who has been reported missing this month. According to police data, at least five girls disappeared mysteriously in July from Srinagar alone. There are similar cases from other parts of Valley. Police sources said more than dozen females have been reported missing from last three months and majority of them happen to be teenage girls.
“My daughter had gone to school but when she didn’t return home, we informed police and filed a complaint. Two weeks have gone by but there is no trace of her. Even the police has been unable to find her,” said Nazeera Akhtar, whose daughter, Talya Rasool, is missing since July 6.
A senior police officer said there is no evidence to suggest involvement of any organised crime racket behind the missing girls’ cases that have been reported to the police this year.
“For example, in cases that were brought to our notice in July, one of the missing girl lives in downtown Srinagar with no virtual connection to another who hails from uptown Barzulla. This more or less rules out involvement of any organised gang,” the officer said.
The officer pointed out one of the breakthrough cases in March this year when two girls, who were reported missing from Jammu region, were traced by police and handed over to their families, “In both cases, there was no ‘gang’ behind their disappearance. In fact, one of the girls was retrieved from her relative’s house,” the officer said.
According to one survey, while the vast majority of victims are found within 24 hours of being reported missing, one in 20 people are still missing after a week. In case of girls from Kashmir, however, these figures may not ring true.
Research points out a host of reasons ranging from crime, family disputes, elopement, etc. as reasons for disappearance of people. However, in Kashmir, a mystery such as this, if not solved, has to the potential to add petrol to the already simmering situation.
“Our investigations so far have not suggested involvement of any organised racket. We are on the job. Let me assure the aggrieved families that no effort is being spared by our police force to reunite them with their loved ones,” SP Pani, inspector general of police, Kashmir, said.