Preparing for exams, Iqbal’s disappearance puts a big question mark

Twelve years ago when Mohammad Iqbal Shah was preparing for his class 10th examination, the personnel of the Border Security Forces (BSF) barged into his house and arrested him infront of his family members. Since then he never returned home.

Iqbal's missing story dates back to 1995. On March 13, Iqbal was as usual engrossed in his studies when the personnel of 163 battalion of BSF entered his home at Wagura, Sopore and arrested him. He was not alone, his two friends too were picked up by the BSF a day ago.

Iqbal, however, was not lucky like his friends, they were released immediately. But there was no trace of Iqbal. His father Mohammad Yousuf Shah remembers the day when his son was picked-up. "They (BSF) tortured him severely," Shah recalls the day when he last saw his 14-year-old son. "We pleaded before the BSF personnel and asked them to let him free but they didn't listen to us". Iqbal was taken away by the raiding party.

Next morning, when Iqbal's family approached the BSF camp they denied his arrest. The anxious father looked in every camp, interrogation centre and jail of the Valley, but the search didn't yield anything. The distraught father finally approached the higher-ups in police and administration. "The then SSP and deputy commissioner of Baramulla assured me that they will try to trace my son," Shah says. "I also approached Lt Gen M A Zaki. He was advisor to (J-K) Governor then. He too gave me assurance. But nothing came out."

The family didn't lose hope and filed a petition in the J-K High Court asking for its intervention to find the missing. The court appointed the district and sessions judge of Baramulla as the inquiry officer to probe the disappearance. "The probe confirmed the arrest of Iqbal by the BSF," says Iqbal's father.

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