Saleem Iqbal Qadri

8 months on, Kupwara student still missing

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Marsari (Kupwara), Sep 19: It has been almost eight months since a Kashmiri MBBS student, Suhail Aijaz Kataria, went missing from his hostel in Odisha; his whereabouts continue to remain unknown.

The missing student’s family was struck by a double tragedy after two of its members died in a road accident on March 18 this year, while as his father, Aijaz Ahmad, is on death bed, having lost his memory and his right leg to the accident.

On the fateful day, Suhail’s father was returning home from Odisha along with two of his cousins when the car they were travelling in met with an accident at Unisoo on Srinagar-Kupwara highway. His cousins -- Liyaqat Kataria and Mushtaq Ahmad Kataria, sons of Alif Din Kataria, died in the mishap while as Suhail’s father remained on a ventilator for over a month and lost memory after undergoing a neurological surgery.

Suhail’s family blames the previous PDP-BJP government and also present Governor’s administration for failing to solve the mystery behind his disappearance.

Suhail Aijaz, who is 1998 born, had qualified the MBBS entrance examination under Schedule Tribe category and secured admission at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar in 2016.

While narrating the ordeal about Suhail’s disappearance and the problems being faced by them, his brother, Shoaib Aijaz said, “On 16th February 2018, we received a call from his roommates saying that Suhail is not attending college since 9th February and upon hearing this we requested them to find him. They told us that before leaving from Odisha, Suhail had informed them that he was going to Chandigarh to attend a marriage ceremony there, scheduled between 9-16 February and will be back to college after that.

“After fifteen days of Suhail’s disappearance, my father and his cousin, Musharaf Parvez, rushed to Bhubaneswar to find Suhail. They met college authorities and also lodged a missing report at Khandagiri police station under General Dairy number 17 dated: 18 February 2018,” he added.

Suhail’s mother, Shaheena Begum, who is in shock after her son’s disappearance blames the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Odisha Police for miserably failing to trace her son.

“My husband is on death bed after having survived a deadly accident which left two of Suhail’s uncles dead. But no one has come to help us, neither government nor the police.”

When this reporter requested Suhail’s family that he wanted to meet his father, they strictly advised not to mention anything about his son’s disappearance because he just knows “my son is perusing MBBS in Bhubaneswar.”

Ghulam Nabi Kataria, 65, Suhail’s grandfather believes that his grandson will return alive one day and will bring back joy to the family.

“Since the time he went missing, we have visited almost each and every corner of the country to trace him. I met Peoples Conference (PC) chief Sajad Gani Lone and former Governor NN Vohra in Kupwara earlier this year and they promised us that they would request central police and other security agencies to find the whereabouts of Suhail, but nothing happened so far.”

“Local MLA, Bashir Ahmad Dar, also visited our home to condole the death of our two family members, even former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah visited us as one of our deceased family members was a core member of National Conference (NC) who played an important role in strengthening the party base in the area,” he added.

Following the mysterious disappearance of Suhail, police here had said that it is in touch with the Odisha Police and administration there regarding his whereabouts.

“We were continuously in touch with Odhisa police asking them to keep us updated about the latest developments of the case. We had also deputed a police team to Odisha soon after Suhail went missing; they also assisted the local police in investigating the case,” Senior Superintend of Police (SSP) Kupwara, Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar told ‘Kashmir Images’.

Speaking to ‘Kashmir Images’, Anup Sahu, Deputy Commissioner of Police Bhubaneswar said, “Suhail is still missing and our efforts to find him have not stopped yet. Every officer here is putting his/her efforts in solving the case. We have circulated his photos to every police station of the state and his last call location on Howrah Bridge is vital to the investigation.”

When asked about the Maoist letter that was found in Suhail’s hostel room, which had suggested that he was kidnapped by them, the officer said, “It turned out to be nothing more than a mischief committed by some unknown persons.”

Registrar AIIMS Bhubaneswar, BB Mishra recalls Suhail as a talented student of his institute and said that he had participated in 2017 annual conference during which he shared the stage with other fellow students.

“He entertained the audience here by singing Kashmiri songs and also shared some interesting facts about Kashmir. We all are confused here about his mysterious disappearance.”

The family has appealed the new Governor and Prime Minister to intervene in the matter.

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