When a long wait ends in the most unexpected manner it may become a reason for countless tragedies and fountains of sorrow. And especially if it is the news of loss of one’s child, it takes immense courage and time to heal the wounds.
No one knows that better than the people constituting Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons [APDP], involved in a fact finding mission who unearthed some 940 unmarked graves in the 18 villages of Uri, a dozen of them in the 3 villages of Kichama, Trikanjan, Chahal in the J&K.
The APDP is firmly of the opinion that the 940 graves are mostly of the 8000 Kashmiri men who disappeared while in the custody of security forces since 1990.
Atta Muhammad Khan Quraishi, no he is not a muslim fanatic religious preacher, nor a descendent of a popular ulema, he is not even a member of any muslim majority or muslim led party. The man in question is even more important than all of them above mentioned, because he is the man who buried all these 940 men without knowing who they were, what had they done that they were buried so secretly, whether they were militants as told by the police men dressed in the civilian clothes who requested Quraishi to help them bury the bodies and thereby sealing the truth for once and for all.
When asked as to why he obliged the police men by helping them bury those unidentified bodies, what he replied was enough for me to see the irony of the situation. He said ‘he has been burying the dead for the past 6 years out of commitment to society, but more as a religious obligation, because he firmly believes all are entitled to a dignified burial
But what about those who made a living man of flesh and blood into a man in grave. That man never reached home to move the cradle of his new born baby or to help his retired father who is having a tough time fixing his glasses or to his elderly mother who was waiting to share the joy of a new addition to the family tree.
What hurts the most to the families is that till date they do not have a clue as to what went so terribly wrong that their children ended up like militants in the graves.
There is an old saying ‘you have to pay back for your deeds here only’. Quraishi himself yearns for his 16 yr old nephew who went missing after he cane to visit him. Once the police asked him to prepare graves for 8 bodies. He waited the whole night but they didn’t arrive. When the bodies came next morning, he was not there. When he returned a man told him that one of the bodies was of his nephew. Quraishi did not believe the man and dug up the grave but could not find his nephew.
He is still waiting .