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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Father killed by Army, daughter by family

Budgam ‘honour killing’: Murder knows no bounds in dehumanized Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 27: In 1992, Hizbul Mujahideen’s militant Ashraf Khan lay in ambush, waiting for a military convoy to return from Beerwah to the Sector Headquarters at Budgam. Holding a vantage position behind a Chinar at the village graveyard at Nasrallapora, alongwith a couple of his associates, Khan lobbed a hand grenade straight into his target vehicle. It exploded, killing and wounding unknown number of soldiers. Later, word spread that the fatal casualties included a Guruji, who had been engaged for a session of worship.

Khan made good his escape (and was next year caught and killed during a cordon-and-search operation). Furious over the saint’s death, soldiers disembarked and stormed the village, killing as many as eleven persons---including women---all innocent civilians. They included middle-aged Ghulam Mohiuddin Dar of Pusroo, Sholipora, who earned his day’s wages by sawing smuggled timber at nearby residential premises.

Dar’s fifth and the last child, Zubaida, was born a year before her father died in the carnage at Nasrallapora. Twenty years later, on Friday, August 24th, 2012, a youthful Zubaida was done to death, perhaps more mercilessly, by none other than her elder brother, Mushtaq Dar, and two elder sisters, namely Misra and Nasreen, both married. She was beaten up for hours and finally strangled to death with the scarf she wore to hide her head and hair. Nobody responded to her screaming.

A local shepherd and Bihari labours working at a brick kiln are said to be the eyewitnesses of Zubaida’s gruesome murder. If her siblings, who have made the confession to Police, are to be believed, it is the first “honour killing” in Budgam district. On a tip off, men from Police Station Budgam rushed to Sarathpora village where some local residents guided them to the dead body of Zubaida, in an orchard. Body was taken into custody for medico-legal formalities and later buried at Pusroo amid a community protest. Residents today carried a rally to the district headquarters, yelling against Zubaida’s killers and demanding severe punishment to them all.

On Friday night, Police Station Budgam registered case FIR No: 248 under section 302 RPC as the marks of physical torture and strangulation were tell-tale on Zubaida’s body. A team of doctors at District Hospital Budgam carried out post mortem and observed prima facie that cause of death was strangulation. Sources said that a detailed autopsy report would be available in the next couple of weeks.

“During investigations Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, the brother of the deceased was brought for questing to ascertain/unearth the facts who disclosed that he and his two other sisters namely Nasreen and Misra were not satisfied with the behaviour /character of their sister (deceased )so were facing a lot of humiliation in the society by her deeds. He and his above mentioned sisters hatched a conspiracy to eliminate her to save their honor in the society. The above name duo sisters took Zubida (deceased) to the out fields of Sarthpora village and strangulated her with her scarf she was wearing”, says a press release from Police.

It adds:“All the three accused have been arrested and the investigation of the case is still going on and some more confessions are expected from them besides the arrest of other suspects is also expected. Police is also probing on the other aspects which include grabbing of ex gratia money belonging to the deceased which she had got from government in SRO case lying in the bank account of the deceased”.

“We have solved this murder case and found that Zubaida has been killed by her two sisters and her brother (Mushtaq Dar) is also involved in the conspiracy. We have arrested three of the accused and investigation is still underway with regard to other questions and details”, SHO Budgam, Inspector Rafeeq Shah, told Early Times over telephone. He said that the accused confessed to the murder and according to their statements, still being cross checked, it was an “honour killing” as the family members were not purportedly happy with Zubaida’s behaviour and character.

Residents of several villages, nevertheless, insist that the actual reason behind Zubaida’s death was an amount of Rs 5 to 6 Lakh that was lying in her bank account. Her sisters and brothers wanted to share the money between themselves. However, Zubaida resisted, arguing that the amount had been deposited in her account and belonged to her only. While as the eldest, Mushtaq Dar, was appointed as a Class 4th employee (and works at DC’s office in Budgam), an amount of Rs 1.00 lakh had been released in favour of the victim family on account of ex gratia relief under SRO-43, years after the family head died in Army’s indiscriminate firing. It is said to have multiplied to Rs 5 or 6 lakhs over the last many years.

Zubaida’s second elder brother, Javed Ahmad Dar, has been recruited in J&K Armed Police in 2007 and he is currently posted in IRP 4th Bn, camping at Chhani Himmat in Jammu. Misra is married in Batpora and Nasreen in Warpora, Beerwah.

On the fateful day, Zubaida was seeking help of her brother-in-law at Batpora, a village on Budgam-Beerwah Road. But, soon her sister, Misra, called another sister, Nasreen, from Warpora. Some reports indicate that their brother, Mushtaq, too joined Zubaida’s torturing. She was forcibly dragged towards her residential village and all were reportedly spotted by a local shepherd and some Bihari labours working at a brick kiln, at 2.30 p.m.

Later, Zubaida was mercilessly strangled to death by her siblings. Police says her head scarf, that seems to have been used in the killing, has also been recovered and seized. Some of the residents insist that at least two of the cousins of the cruel siblings were also present.

“Whether it was really an honour killing or simply a murder for money, will become clear in a couple of days”, said an official associated with the investigation. He said that at least three to four others were suspects and they would be all arrested and interrogated to unravel the truth.


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