My Son, Where are You

  • Wasim Ahmad
  • Publish Date: Aug 6 2017 9:10PM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Aug 6 2017 9:10PM
My Son, Where are You

A family searches for their disappeared child

 

On May 13, 2008, Mehran Latief Mir, 3, went to buy candy from a shop near his home in Habbakadal, Srinagar. He just vanished, as if in thin air.

His mysterious disappearance has left his mother Rubina, 30, broken. “Do you know what it is like to lose a son? It is like somebody has set your heart on fire,” she says. “This pain will continue until I die.”

“I could not sleep for months after he left us. When I did sleep, he would come in my dreams. I would get up and look for him on the bed. I would then weep for hours, longing for him. I can’t describe my pain, only my God can understand that.”

Not that Rubina didn’t try to move on. She disposed of nearly everything that would remind her of Mehran. “I gave away his clothes and books to my relatives. His pictures were taken by the press when his disappearance came to light. I now have only two of his pictures,” she says. “I became mother of two girls after Mehran went missing. But even that did not lessen the pain of losing him.”

At her paternal home in Safakadal, where Rubina has come to stay for a while, is Mehran’s three-wheel plastic cycle. “My brother has kept it upstairs. Mehran rode the cycle for only a few days before we lost him. A few days ago my daughter saw the cycle and she wanted it. But I refused. His matamaal was very attached to Mehran. They have preserved his memories.”

That fateful day, Mehran came home from school at around 2.30 pm. “He did not want lunch,” Rubina recalls. “So, I gave him two rupees. He went outside to buy candy. When he did not return for 20 minutes, I went to look for him. I could not find him at the shop. I went to our neighbours and relatives. But he was not anywhere.”

Her family searched the “sky and the earth”, but Mehran was nowehere to be found.

“I lost myself after Mehran went missing. Tears have dried uin my eyes from constant weeping,” she says. “I yearn for him to return.”

“I went to pirs. I roamed the streets of the city for years. But nothing. We have visited masjids, shrines looking for Mehran.”

“We left our house in Habbakadal after he went missing and shifted to Gojwara” she says. “But I am still restless.”

Rubina’s brother Rouf Mir, 34, says the struggle to find his nephew has been torturous. “We were very attached to him. My mother got ill because she thought about Mehran all the time. He was the darling of my mother and father. My father is still restless. Rubina too fell ill. I left my job to search for Mehran. I used to run a school here.”

Rouf says they have visited all kinds of pirs, faith healers and fortune tellers of all religions, hoping that someone would tell where to find Mehran. “One fortune teller said Mehran would return within a week if I gave him fifty thousand rupees. I gave him the money. But my nephew did not return.”

“One time, I went to meet a pir in Bandipora. He asked me to go to Punjab and meet a pir in Sahran Sharief. The pir there told me Mehran was alive and he would return but, of course, he never did.” 

He is, however, certain that Mehran will return one day. “All of us know that he is alive and will return to us,” he says. “He will return and bring life to our lifeless family.”

Rubina’s father Ghulam Qadir Mir, 55, a butcher, runs a shop outside his house. His eyes moisten with tears at just the mention of Mehran. “I raised him. He would be with me all the time. I would take him wherever I went. I loved him,” he says. “I still search for him. I go to pirs regularly. They tell me he will return. I am waiting for him to return.”

Ghulam Qadir opens a wooden trunk in his shop, takes out a photograph of Mehran and starts weeping. “How will I forget him? Just looking at his picture tears my heart.”

 

 

 

In Search Of  The Lost Boy

•     The day after Mehran went missing, his family registered a case of abduction at Kralkhud police station, Habba Kadal, on May 14, 2008.

The police failed to trace the boy and handed over the case to Crime Branch, Kashmir. The crime branch too came up empty.

•     In November 2013, the Crime Branch filed a closure report in a Srinagar court, stating that Mehran was “untraceable”.

On November 13, 2013, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court instructed the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the case.

•     The CBI too over the investigation on February 6, 2014.

•     We were taken to an ashram in Gurgaon where we were shown a boy who the CBI said resembled Mehran,” says Rouf. “They tried hard to convince us that he was Mehran. But he was not. For one, Mehran was circumcised. That boy was not.”

On March 26, 2016, the CBI filed a closure report to Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar. In the report, the agency said it could not find Mehran despite announcing a reward of Rs 2 lakh for information about him, searching in beggar houses, orphanages and ashrams.