Family wary of Fark's safety
Baramulla : A distinction holder in Class XII, Syed Fark Bukhari of Kreeri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district always dreamt of becoming a journalist.
He wanted to lend "voice to the voiceless" in Kashmir, who he believed required his services the most. But fate had wished something else: Fark went missing after he was reportedly bundled into a Rakshak vehicle by troopers at Chooru on July 28.Fark was busy chatting with his mother Zahida Bukhari that day when he noticed some commotion outside the house and went out to see what was happening, at the same time promising his mother that he would return soon. In fact, it is this promise of Fark that the crestfallen mother is reminded of day-in and day-out as she cries for her missing son.According to his father, Syed Bashir Bukhari, who is Imam at the local mosque, Fark has been subjected to forced disappearance by the uniformed men after some protesters were arrested near Chooru the same day. Bashir said some protesters from Palhalan had come to enforce shutdown in Kreeri. He said they (protesters) insisted that some local youths join them. Fark obliged, as did some other youngsters. “They came in some four to five trucks and enforced shutdown in the township. Later they insisted that some youths accompanied them till the highway,” said the father, who is under shock and bedridden eversince Fark went missing.As they left the town, Bashir said, a police gypsy chased them all the way till they reached Chooru village. The chasers had already informed the police at Chooru and the youths were cordoned from all sides with additional deployment from other police stations.“They resorted to heavy teargas shelling and baton-charging the youths. They bundled over 40 youths in police vehicles while Fark was the lone youngster to be pushed into a Rakshak vehicle,” Bashir said.He said the following day the police sent information to the Kreeri elders about the arrested youths; however, Fark did not feature in the list."Officials from Pattan police station assured us that they will locate him in next couple of days as he may have been picked up by some intelligence agencies. But after failing to locate him, these officials claimed it was not in their jurisdiction,” said Bashir.Disappointed at the police apathy, Fark's uncle Sareer Ahamd Bukhari said they approached SSP Baramulla and IG North Kashmir for seeking the whereabouts of Fark."They assured us to locate him as he was carrying his cellphone and the network could easily trace him. But after some days they had the same argument to offer, that it did not fall in their jurisdiction,” Sareer said. Meanwhile, for the past two weeks of their son's disappearance, the Bukhari family ran pillar to post to seek his whereabouts but to no avail.While protesting over the disappearance of her son, Zahida was hit by a teargas shell in the eye on July 30. The wound remains unhealed as tears keep rolling down throughout the day as she wails for her missing son.The younger brother of Fark, Lukman is too young to understand the tragedy that has struck the family. A Class IV student, Lukman is a look-alike of Fark and thereby adding to the crestfallen mother's pain of not being able to see Fark.However, the worst has befallen Fark's younger sister Hawana Bukhari, a Class XI student. The day her older brother went missing, she lost her voice. Doctors advised her parents to make her cry by calling ''Baya, Baya'' as it may help her come out of shock.She however regained some power to speak in some days and summons some strength to whisper words into this reporter's ears. “Can you ask Chief Minster Omar Abdullah to return my Baya as he is innocent? I am sure he will, if you ask him.”Although Hawana is known to be a good student, perhaps she knows little about the trend of disappearances in Kashmir. Fark is not the first one to meet this fate, neither the last one. For, in his bedroom, Fark has books that talk of the chilling truth of disappearances in Kashmir in the last over two decades like 'Curfewed Night', 'Unveiling the Truth' and 'Did they vanish in thin air?'.