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From a president who loves kids, a father hopes for justice

By Shahnawaz Khan

July 28, 2006:

Mehmood Farooqi
A Kashmiri man who lost his two sons allegedly at hands of Indian paramilitary forces in 1992, says be wants the visiting Indian President to help him bring the accused troopers to justice.

Indian President A P J Abul Kalam arrives on a two day visit to Indian administered Kashmir today.

Mehmood ul Hassan Farooqi, a resident of Lal Bazar locality in summer capital Srinagar, hopes Kalam's love for children may help him get justice.

Farooqi breaks down as he relates the events of the fateful day.

"It was 31 July 1992; a Border Security Force (BSF) party was fired upon by militants near our house. The militants fled but the BSF troopers cordoned off the area, entered our house and killed my two sons before leaving the spot." Farooqi says.

According to Farooqi his younger son, Imtiyaz-ud-din (14 then) opened the door to knocking BSF personnel who thrust bullets into his head, without any queries.

As other family members rushed out, the troopers allegedly fired on Taj-ud-din, (21 then), elder son of Farooqi.

"After that they (BSF personnel) shut the door from outside". Relates Farooqi and adds that Taj-ud-din who was breathing for more than an hour couldn't be removed to hospital as the door was closed.

Abdul Rashid Kakroo, a neighbour who tried to remove the Farooqi sons to Hospital was also fired upon, so were some of Kakroo's guests. Kakroo and his guests survived with some injuries.

Imtiyaz-ud-din Farooqi was a 9th standard student while his brother Taj-ud-din was an engineering student in Bangalore.

Farooqi has been fighting to punish the alleged killers since, but had little success. An FIR (First Information Report) for the incident was registered in Police station Lal Bazar, in 1992 under section 302, 307, 427 Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). However a charge sheet is yet to be produced in the Court of Law.

"The police have completed the investigations, it is a clear case of innocent killings, but they have not produced a charge sheet so far" says Farooqi.

Farooqi wants the accused officials of 30 Bn BSF be produced in a civil court but says the authorities and the police are using delaying tactics.

In 1996 Farooqi approached the National Human Rights Commission (of India ) with his grievance and the NHRC wrote to the then Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, Ashok Jaitley to process the case.

While justice seems ever elusive Farooqi says he will fight, "as long as I am alive".

Farooqi now pins hope on President Kalam. "He (Kalam) is known for his love for children. If my children had been alive they may also have been invited by the President like other kids. Can he help me get justice" Farooqi says.

Kalam who will address a special session of Jammu and Kashmir legislature and attend a jurists conference in his two day trip to Kashmir will also be visiting a local school and meet children invited from other schools of the valley.

"I make an appeal to the President to help me punish the killers of my children. I appreciate your love for children and hope you can understand my pain." Says Farooqi appealing to the President.

With no formal appointments Farooqi's pleas are unlikely to reach to President Kalam. "I have no means of appealing to him (Kalam) except through media. I cannot get an appointment". He says.


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