For 8 months, a father in J&K has been digging for missing son’s body

A SHOVEL and a spade in hand, he sets out from his two-storeyed house. Depending on what he last heard, he chooses a spot and starts digging.

Manzoor Ahmad Wagay has been digging the earth for the past eight months now. What he hopes to find one day is his son’s body — the son who would have been 25 years old in a few days.

On August 2 last year, Territorial Army soldier Rifleman Shakir Manzoor was travelling between the Balpora and Bahibagh army camps in Shopian area. Since it was Eid day, he stopped to have lunch with his family on the way back and left home at 5 pm.

“That is the last time I saw him,” says his father, 56.

The last time anyone heard from Shakir was about half-an- hour later, when he called the family and said he had run into some friends and that they should not worry if his officers called to ask his whereabouts.

“I think he had been kidnapped already and he just wanted to talk to us one last time,” says Wagay.

Hours later that day, Shakir’s charred vehicle was recovered from a field in the neighbouring Kulgam district, about 16 km from his village.

About seven days later, his clothes were found in a ditch 3 km from the house. Wagay breaks down as he holds out a pair of beige trousers and a brown shirt covered with dried blood and mud. A piece of the shirt was found inside the burnt vehicle as well which, the family believes, could have been torn in the scuffle of the kidnapping.

A week after the killing, an audio clip…

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