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Union after 10 years of separation for the family

 

HAROON RESHI | Srinagar, April 22, 2013 20:48
Tags : Gafoor Khatan | Bakarwals |
 

A 30-year-old mentally challenged person, missing for last 10 years was found in Srinagar’s asylum last week, after he spoke for the first time in front the hospital authorities in a decade long stay in the sanatorium.

Gafoor Khatan, belonging to a Bakarwal family, as tribal community of Rajouri District in Jammu and Kashmir had gone missing in April, 2003 in Srinagar. Ten years ago, Khatan was here along with his parents and three sisters with a flock of sheep, goat and cattle.

It is a normal retune for Bakerwal shepherds to move towards the larger mountain meadows of the Valley in the summer to feed their herds of sheep and goats and other animals.

Gafore’s tale goes like this:

In April 2003, his family was camping in Habak, in the outskirts of Srinagar city and they were preparing to proceed towards the hills with their folk of sheep and goats. Gafore, then 20 years old unexpectedly went missing. The family members left no stone unturned to trace him out but all in vain. The depressed family left back to Rajouri with the hope that their abnormal son might have gone to his native place. But he was not there too. A few months later, Gafore’s parents came again to the Valley to search their missing son but again they failed. This time they informed police about the occurrence and made their son’s missing report published in the local newspapers. But all this could not help them to get their son back. Days, weeks and months passed but Gafore did not return back to his people. After a few years later, the family stopped search.

What had happened?

A few days later, he was split out from his family, Gafore was found in Uri, village at the periphery (Line of Control) roaming mysteriously around. He was arrested by the Jawans of 7 Dogra regiment.

The Army first interrogated him to know who he was. But as soon as they came to know the young man was a mentally challenged person, the Army handed him over to local police.

The Police after keeping him in the police station at Uri for a few days finally brought him to Srinagar to admit him in the Valley’s lonely Asylum. No body could know even his name as he was not able to talk. He stayed in the Hospital for 10 long years.

It was like a miracle on April 15, 2013 when a social worker Sajad Ahmad Bhat while teaching him how to play carom heard him saying something.

“I was shocked to hear some meaningless words from him. I know him for last 8years but nothing such had happened ever. It took me about more than a couple of hours to encourage him to speak out and finally I could hear some words like: Dhilody, Shakeela, Mehnaz and Parveena from him. And it took me nothing to understand that the last three words were the female names but I could not understand what he meant by the word “Dhilody”. Sajjad elaborated in a conversation with TSI.

Adding, “After some research I was able to fine out that “Dhilody” was the name of a village in Rajouri District. I contacted Kashmir Singh, a sarpanch of the village and asked him to find out if there was any link with the sick man and the Village.”

“Within two hours, it was clear that the man in Srinagar’s asylum was a missing person of the village and Shakeela, Mehnaz and Parveena are his sisters.” Kashmiri Singh told TSI over phone.

After completing the legal formalities, Hospital authorities handed over the sick man to his cousin brother Muzafar on Saturday.

“This is a miracle; we had never imagined that we will get him back in this situation. We had stopped trying to find him. Thank God we finally got him back.” Muzafar told TSI.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017