Hajira Begum is the iconic face of resistance to forcible disappearance in Kashmir. As an activist in the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), she is present at most of their protests. She once said “my only wish before death is to see the faces of my two sons who were disappeared.”
Her son Bashir Ahmad Sofi was picked up from his shop in 1995 by Indian counter-insurgency troops & has not been seen since. To avenge this, her sons Nazir Ahmad & Muhammad Rafiq joined a militant group & both were killed in separate encounters where Indian soldiers are paid bonuses or given promotions for every person killed. Her youngest son Aijaz Ahmad was later also disappeared. Her husband died from grief at the deaths & disappearances of his four sons.
She now lives in extreme poverty & requires assistance for medicines, food, & other necessities but remains a prominent activist in APDP.
We honor & stand with her & the APDP to stop the vile practice of forcible disappearances & to demand an accounting of every person disappeared by the Indian occupying army.
Photo is Hajira Begum.