Waiting for a disappeared son

Parveena Ahangar explains why waiting for a disappeared son to return is like taking a slow poison.

Kashmir - Parveena Anghar 3
Parveena Ahangar has championed the cause of disappeared persons in Kashmir for almost two decades [Azad Essa]

Parveena Ahangar was the co-founder of the original Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Indian-administered Kashmir and is the chairperson of a breakaway association of the same name.

When her son Javed was taken away by security forces more than 17 years ago, Anghar decided to dedicate her life to searching for justice for all victims of enforced disappearance.

Here, she speaks to Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa from her office in Srinagar about a woman called Muglee who lost everything when the security forces picked up her son and took him away, forever.

Parveena Ahangar tells Al Jazeera the story of one mother whose son disappeared

The summarised translation:

“Muglee was an old woman who lived in down town Srinagar and died recently as she waited for her son, who like so many others disappeared during the 1990s, to reemerge.

She was divorced by her husband three months after her wedding and when her son was taken away she lost her life support. When he was taken and she was forced to live on her own, her distant cousins and relatives started turning up and claiming her property – which they finally took – as they downplayed her cause.

Muglee had bought soap and a kaffan for her own last bathe and had told me to please look for her son for as long as I lived.

Eight days before Muglee died, she came to me and said: “Daughter, please search for my missing son too [for as long as] you are alive.”

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The pain a mother endures, waiting for her son’s return is like drinking a slow poison … something that probably killed Muglee.

During Muglee’s last moments, she felt as if her son was right next to her.

“My son, come here, you finally came,” she said. “I have kept a sacrificial goat for you which we would distribute at the shrine.”

On the day of Muglee’s Jinazaah (Islamic burial) there would normally have been a lot of people, but the cousins and distant family got her buried quietly – perhaps because of the stigma – and because people might have asked questions.”

Read more about the APDP here

Source: Al Jazeera