For the first time in the last over two decades, family of a man, who had disappeared in the custody of security forces 14 years ago, held his funeral prayers in absentia, marking the end of their search for him, but opening up the battle for justice. People from all walks of life including the senior Hurriyat leaders Tuesday attended the funeral prayers in absentia at Rawalpora organized for the chemist, Manzoor Ahmad Dar, by his family. On Monday, the family of Dar had appealed people to participate in his funeral prayers in absentia. The absentia prayers, led by of Hurriyat (G) leader, Peer Saifullah were held at Government High School Rawalpora at 2 pm in which thousands of people across the Valley participated. People who participated in the funeral prayers raised pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans. Dar’s funeral prayers in absentia created an example in the state as it is the first time when people held absentia prayers for the person who had disappeared from the custody years ago. The human rights groups have said that around eight thousand Kashmiri people have disappeared allegedly in the custody of government forces during the past twenty years in the state. Meanwhile, Chief of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Yasin Malik also took part in the funeral prayers in absentia. While talking to the media persons, Malik said, “There are thousands of family like Dar who face psychological trauma,” He said that the family members of Dar like persons even don’t know whether their dear ones are dead or alive. “Despite dialogue process has been initiated, the human rights violation in the Valley is still going on. The two things can’t go together,” Malik said. Dar was picked up from his home at Rawalpora by unidentified gunmen on intervening night of January 18/19 in 2002. Following massive protests, police station Saddar in Srinagar filed an FIR under section 364 (abduction) against Army’s 35 Rashtriya Rifles. Subsequently, during the investigation, the name of Major Kishore Malhotra (now brigadier) surfaced as an accused. On November 26 last year, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the custodial disappearance of Manzoor closed the investigation in the case.
2015 Kashmir Despatch