Declare my papa dead!

Sopore Ruqaiya doesn’t remember her father. She was just two years old when her father Muhammad Sadeeq Sholuri was picked up by BSF and allegedly disappeared in the custody. Eighteen years have passed and Ruqaiya, now a university student, wants her father to be declared dead.
“It has been a long wait. We want that he be declared dead now,” says Ruqaiya in a flat and expressionless tone.
Sadeeq, a calligrapher from Sopore, who was then working for monthly magazine “Takbeer” was picked up by BSF’s 5th BN from his rented room in Batamaloo, Srinagar on March 11, 1991.
Sitting by the side of her daughter in a small room of their single storey house Sadeeq’s wife Aisha Begum reluctantly narrates how her husband was subjected to custodial disappearance.
“He was working for various newspapers as a calligrapher including Takbeer and was putting up in a room at Batamaloo rented by Auqaf. On March 11, 1991 in the holy month of Ramadan, a heavy exchange of fire between militants and BSF took place at Batamaloo and during the subsequent crack down, my husband was arrested along with few others. Since then we know nothing about him,” says Aisha.
Aisha has been running from pillar to post to know the whereabouts of her husband. A few days after Sadeeq’s arrest, she approached the then Divisional Commissioner, Director General of police and Deputy Inspector General of police CID and was told that her husband would be released after proper interrogation.
On May 14 the same year she approached Investigation Bureau BSF but was told that they have handed him over to SSP Control Room Srinagar along with 19 other detainees to be released, but that never happened.
“I was shown a list of 19 people who had been arrested and my husband’s name was there at Serial No 9.That piece of paper gave me a little hope, but everything fell apart when some released persons told me that my husband had been killed during interrogation and some other person was released in his name so that they are not questioned,” says Aisha amid sobs, adding that she is still in dilemma whether her husband is really dead or not.
“I don’t know what happened to him but at least they make it clear that he is no more. He was punished for the sin he never committed,” she adds.
In 1997, the High Court after a judicial probe established the custodial disappearance of Sadeeq and ordered Sopore Police to register a case but “nothing happened.”
Sholuri, as his family and friends remember him, was a virtuous and soft spoken person.“He was a great calligrapher and a nice human being. Apart from working with various newspapers he had written the Arabic text of Bismillah Irrahman-i-Raheem (In the name of God, the most Beneficent and Merciful) in two hundred different and interesting ways. He had also compiled various books and pamphlets in his own handwriting,” his friends recall.