SRINAGAR: Three civilians in north Kashmir's Kupwara district have gone missing since last month with their families accusing an Army man of abducting their kin under the pretext of jobs.

Ghulam Jeelani Khatana, 42, Mir Hussain Khatana, 45 and Ali Muhammad Sheikh, 40, all residents of Kupwara district, are missing since November 17 when they had left their home reportedly to work as porters with the Army.

Jana Begum, wife of Ghulam Jeelani told The Citizen she fears for the safety of her husband who was taken away by a local, Manzoor Ahmad Khwaja, of 160 Battalion of Territorial Army in Kupwara, under the pretext of offering him a job.

“I fear Manzoor has handed him to some agency. We are a very poor family. My children will starve to death if anything happens to him. I only want my husband back,” she said.

The Army's Srinagar-based spokesperson could not be reached for comments.

According to police, the families were reportedly in touch with Manzoor till last month who assured them that their kin were engaged in Keran as porters by the Army. But on asking about their whereabouts, Manzoor allegedly switched off his phone.

Fearing for their lives, the aggrieved families approached the court on Tuesday and sought an investigation into the matter. The Kupwara Police has registered a case of abduction under section 364 of RPC (FIR No. 100 /2015) but the Army man, who sits at the centre of the case, has gone “missing”.

The incident comes against the backdrop of a similar case of disappearance of three civilians in Machil area of Kupwara in 2010 which later turned out to be a case of fake encounter, sparking a mass unrest during which over 120 civilians, mostly teenagers, were killed.

DIG (North), Gareeb Dass said the J&K Police has filed a case and the accused Army man is “absconding” from November 28. "We have asked the Army to produce the soldier which they haven't so far," he said.

The case is coming up for hearing today in the court.