'Where Are Our Missing Sons?' Kashmiri Keep Asking

Monday, December 26, 2011

A woman in northern India has been leading a search for sons who suffered "enforced disappearances" in the Kashmir Valley years ago. Support for her group is growing, but there is no closure in sight.

SRINAGAR, India (WOMENSENEWS)--Parveena Ahangar hasn't known peace for years.

"I can't describe how each day passes. I keep taking medicines every single day to control my tension. At night, I'm awake. I just can't sleep," Ahangar says.

She's felt this way, she says, ever since the day 21 years ago when she lost her son.

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"My teenaged son, Javed, was picked by the security agencies in 1990," she says.

"Security men came to our Batmaloo home to pick him up, saying they were taking him for interrogation. We pleaded with them, saying he couldn't have done anything wrong, that he had just passed his matriculation. But they didn't listen and took him to the interrogation center at Pari Mahal. We never saw him again."

Ahangar's husband fell ill because of the trauma, and gave up working. He remains in poor health today.

Ahangar lives in the India-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir in the north of the country, near the borders of Pakistan and China, an area plagued by territorial strife and tensions.

She has scoured the Kashmir Valley for news of her son. She has visited jails through the region. She has approached the United Nations. "I've appealed to every possible government authority, to politicians across party lines."

Many other women in the Kashmir Valley recount similar stories.

They say they've sold land, homes, jewelry; exhausted every asset in the search for their children.

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