AJK villager held by Indian troops

AJK villager held by Indian troops

By Tariq Naqash

MUZAFFARABAD: An Azad Kashmir resident was detained by Indian troops from along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district on Wednesday, according to local people and officials.

They said Kala Khan, 42, a resident of Darra Sher Khan, was cutting fodder in the proximity of the unmarked dividing line when he was whisked away by an Indian army patrol.

“Yes, he has been captured by the Indian army,” Poonch Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Fareed told Dawn by telephone. “This is something that frequently happens along the LoC.”

He said Kala Khan had accompanied a fellow villager to cut fodder in a mountain behind their hamlet known as Munir Colony in the wee hours of Wednesday. Their families waited for their return for about six hours and after that launched a search during which they found their chadors, which they used to carry grass, along the LoC. They later came in contact with one of them who had fled to a nearby town.

He told them that he heard some noise from the direction where Kala Khan was cutting grass but couldn’t find him and fled from there out of panic, according to the deputy commissioner. Malick Rashid, an official at the Sehrra police post, told Dawn that a report about the incident had been registered.

This correspondent made several calls and sent text messages to a Muzaffarabad-based ISPR official for the army’s version, but there was no response from him.

Residents in AJK’s border areas allege that Indian troops often whisk away civilians who herd cattle, cut fodder and pick wood or medicinal plants along the LoC.

In July last year, four Neelum Valley residents who were collecting a medicinal plant along the LoC went missing and it turned out later that they had been taken across by the Indian army and were later killed.

In June 2009, another resident of the same area was allegedly picked up and taken across by the Indian troops.

In September 2007, three men went missing from Dhakki and Chaknar hamlets of Neelum Valley. Their relatives alleged that they had been kidnapped by the Indian army from the AJK side of the LoC.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2014

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