Childhood lost in search for his father
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It was no child's play for 11-year-old Altaf to search every jail, security camp, interrogation center and police station in the Valley for his missing father.
Eleven years ago, Ghulam Qadir Kani was picked up by the Army from his home at Batamaloo, his son Mohammad Altaf was a witness to it.
The loss of his father made Altaf more mature than his age. Instead of accompanying other kids of his age playing games, he compromised with the hard "reality". "I know that my father has been killed," says Altaf, who is 22 now. All he wants now is to know where his father has been buried. "We want to keep his grave as his last memory."
The story of Ghulam Qadir goes back to 1996. On February 18 of that year, recalls Altaf, just after dinner there was a knock on the door. "Major Avtar Singh and some Ikhwanis (counter insurgents) barged in and he (Major Avtar) asked daddy to accompany them," he says. That was the last time Altaf saw his father.
The next morning his search for his father began which was never to end. Even after 11 years, his search continues, but now it has a different meaning. He now wants to locate his father's grave.
Altaf's search for his 42-year-old father began from the Police Station at Batamaloo. He filed a complaint there, and began his own search. He visited every security camp, every interrogation centre and every jail of the Valley. But without any luck.
His initiative had by that time caught attention of the Army. The family received threat calls from counter insurgents along with demanded for money. "First they demanded Rs 50,000. We paid it hoping to see our father soon," says Altaf. It was followed by another demand of Rs 1 lakh. "They told us Major Avtar wanted the money. This time again we paid them."
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