MOTHER DIES AFTER FUNERAL OF SON, MISSING FOR 14 YRS
SRINAGAR: The mother of a chemist, whose funeral in absentia was held on Tuesday exactly fourteen years after he went missing, has died at her Srinagar home. She was 82.
Family sources said the deceased, Zeba Bano, whose health had fallen after her son, Manzoor Ahmad Dar, was abducted on the intervening night of January 18-19, 14 long years ago, and subjected to enforced disappearance, passed away at their home in Rawalpora on the outskirts of Srinagar city on Thursday morning.
"After papa's funeral was over, her health condition worsened. Perhaps she was living with the hope of seeing her son again, which ended with the funeral. Now the two have been rejoined again," Bilkees Manzoor, daughter of the chemist, said, breaking down into tears. She said preparations are underway to hold the funeral of her grandmother at their ancestral graveyard in Rawalpora.
The funeral in absentia of the chemist was attended by thousands of people on Tuesday including the separatist leaders and their representatives. It was the first of its kind event in Kashmir Valley where thousands of people have become victims of enforced disappearances but their families live with the hope of their safe return.
Although the family of Manzoor vowed to continue the battle for justice, they say the funeral was necessary to end years of sufferings during which they had to even sell off their properties to bribe the security officers, who falsely promised to arrange their meeting with Manzoor, or to pursue the case in courts.
The J&K Police has closed investigations in the case, accusing Kishore Malhotra, a colonel (now brigadier) of the Indian Army 35 Rashtriya Rifles, for abducting and killing the chemist in custody, and destroying the evidence.
Coincidentally, the case also came up for hearing on Tuesday in the Supreme Court which gave Jana Begum, the widow of Manzoor, four weeks time to file reply to the Special Leave Petition ( SLP) by the Army brigadier, while listing the case again on March 3.
The J&K High Court had already ordered the Army brigadier's arrest, observing that the Special Investigation Team probing custodial disappearance of the chemist, should have arrested the accused for custodial interrogation.