SRINAGAR: The families of the three men missing from Kupwara held a press conference to deny police claims that they had crossed the border to Pakistan. And were essentially working as spies.

The families contested the authorities claim maintaining that there was no record or history in the missing men;s lives to suggest this. “The police and army are claiming to have sent them to Pakistan as spies but all of them are illiterate. How can security forces choose those people to spy for them who are uneducated. I believe that our beloved ones will never leave their families alone and put their lives in danger,” Haseena Begum, wife of Ali Muhammad Shiekh, said.

The families said that their members, Ghulam Jeelani Khatana, who was working as an army porter from April 2015, Hussain Khatana, a labourer, and Ali Mohammad, a former militant and now a labourer, all residents of Gojar Patti (Satbonya) in Dardepora went missing after a territorial Army trooper Khawaja called them on the phone for a porters’ job in army.

Khawaja, a Territorial Army trooper of t69 battalion, knew them as he lives in the same village, Dardpora in the district.

“On November 17, my husband got a phone call from Manzoor Ahmad, territorial Army (TA) personnel who asked him to come out as he has some work with him. Since then my husband’s phone is switched off and we don’t know where he is,” she said.

Haseena further appealed to the government to intervene in the matter and find the missing men.

The three families, who were accompanied by some locals of the area, said that the police including army are providing them wrong information about their beloved ones.

“The missing persons are the sole bread winners of our families but the forces don’t care about that and push us to hardships,” she said. according to the Kashmir News Service.

The authorities have not been able to explain as to how three men were sent off to Pakistan without apparent training. And if they have indeed been sent then why have their lives been now endangered by the public pronouncement that they have been sent to Pakistan to spy for India?

The story given out appears cursoy, badly thought out, with several missing links. Lpcal Kashmiris are reminded of the Mchil encounter whre the Army initially claimed to have killed three ‘insurgents.’ And then facts revealed showed that the three men had been lured by a territorial Army trooper to work for the Army as porters, and they had gone missing since. Large scale protests rocked the Valley, leading to more deaths in police firing.