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Family in J&K facing starvation like situation: Sole bread earner was allegedly picked up 14 years back by Army
Lend a patient ear to 14-year-old girl Bisma Jan, and you would be stunned, to say the least. She was just seven days old, when her fatherhood was snatched from her, leaving her to live a tormented life for all times to come.

On fateful evening of January 22, 2000 her father Shabir Ahmad Gassi was picked up by Army men from his home in Bemina, never to return home. His disappearance has ruined his wife Shameema Begum and her children. Having exhausted almost all resources in search of lone bread winner for past 14 years, the family is facing starvation like conditions.

“I screamed in desperation but the army men dragged him, beat him and finally took him along. When I tried to stop them the army men beat me too. I exhausted all my resources in his search but failed to found him to date and now I have nothing left with me to feed my children,” said Shameema. Gassi used to sell fruits at a rehri in Batamaloo to earn a living and run his family of three.

Bisma 14, is reading in class VIII and her 16-year-old brother Waseem Ahmed is selling tea at a make shift tea stall to help her mother run the family but this often proves insufficient to give two times meals to the family. When minor Waseem should have been in a school with pen and paper in his hands, destiny has forced his tender hands to toil hand for survival. Meanwhile minor Bisma often argues with her mother about her father, whom she has never seen except in the picture.

“She has been living in despair ever since she grew up and realized the world around her. She often argues that her father is alive and forces me to bring him back to home. She hugs the picture of her father often and cries in desperation. It is too difficult to make her understand that her father may never return home. We are facing starvation like conditions and except Allmighty God, there is no body to look forward to,” said Shameema, mother of Bisma.

Army had allegedly charged Shabir with a militancy related case leaving behind very little chance of return. “Often I tell Shabir’s sad story to my children so that they will come to know that their father was not a militant and he was made a victim. A wrong information by a source to Army men snatched Shabir from us leaving us shattered from all times to come,” she added.

It has been more than 14 years since Shabir went missing and the family does not know whether he is dead or alive. Shameema has one more son to take care of and in the absence of a source of income; the family is facing starvation like conditions with no end in sight to their countless miseries. What has added to the plight of poor family is the fact that civil society, human rights groups and separatists making tall claims of safeguarding the family, have ignored their plight.

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