Confessions Of Coldblooded Murderers Who Shocked Kashmir

Tota brothers who killed their father.

Before confessing their crime, the two brothers had resorted to stories to hide one of the most shocking murders in Kashmir’s crime history.

INSIDE a police lockup in Srinagar, the two brothers had defied their chilling crime akin to some thick-skinned felons. Sporting a fasting faithful’s signature symbol including a skullcap, they kept denying their role even as the sleuths persisted grilling.

Hours later into the questioning and they were behaving as if they had never “slept with the dead body” for 24 hours before dumping it in the murky waters of Dal Lake.

“They were acting as cold-blooded killers—covering up the act of petrifying patricide,” says Lateef Ali, SHO Nigeen Police Station, who was part of the team that investigated the sensational murder that shocked Kashmir in the beginning of Ramazan.

“But in a bid to outwit police, they confessed one of the shocking crimes in Kashmir.”

Before taken to the police custody, the siblings—Junaid Khursheed, a private lab technician, and Omair Khursheed, a jobless young man—had conceived the crime to end their father, a retired employee at HMT, Srinagar.

On the night of the murder, the local mosques were reverberating with special prayers of Ramazan. After offering eight rakats of Taraweeh at Elahibagh Soura’s local mosque, Khurshid A. Tota, 62, came back home at around 9:30pm.

The elder was still feeling bitter after facing his spiteful family members earlier that day. He didn’t speak to anyone and quietly retired to his room.

“But both his sons had planned to finish him off that night only,” SHO Lateef says.

With loud speakers booming with the broadcasted prayers, the siblings caught hold of their father and choked him.

The skinny sexagenarian didn’t struggle much and shortly succumbed to the treachery of his own sons.

To conceal the crime, the duo decided to keep the body at their home for the night.

“They couldn’t get their car parked in their neighbour’s yard on the same night due to some construction work,” the officer said. “And that’s why they waited for the next night.”

But the siblings weren’t alone in executing the most brutal crime. They had a partner in crime—an accomplice—in the form of their mother and Khursheed’s better half.

“She would always take sides of her two sons whenever Khursheed had an argument with them,” the SHO said.

The killers conveniently faked normalcy by wearing the faithful Muslim symbols and awaited the next day to “dispose of” the body of their father.

Next day, on April 6, as the fasting Muslims in their area had iftar, the siblings quietly kept their father’s dead body inside their i-20 car and drove towards the Dal Lake.

They took the Foreshore Road and pulled over near a deserted path. Sensing the opportune time to cover up their crime, they took out the cold and pale body of their father and threw it into the lake.

They returned home in huff, and shared the news with their mother.

But the lake known to act as a sink of the society’s underbelly soon vomited out the ghastly crime dumped in its murky waters.

Khursheed A. Tota

On April 7, the police received information that an unidentified dead body was lying in the Dal Lake near Akhoon Mohalla Foreshore Road.

The body was fished out and shifted to a hospital for medico-legal formalities.

Police initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 Crpc and a case vide FIR No. 34/2022 under relevant sections of law was registered in Police Station Nigeen.

The investigation was taken up under the supervision of SP Hazratbal, Mashkoor Ahmed Zargar and SDPO Zakura, Showkat Ahmad Dar.

The body had visible marks on neck which was confirmed by the preliminary medical report as well.

Soon the suspects were summoned for questioning. Among them were the two siblings.

Sleuths had sniffed their probable role as they had stayed tightlipped about their father’s missing status for days together.

“We became suspicious of them as they didn’t lodge a missing complaint in the police station even after three days,” SHO Lateef informs. “So, we started grilling them.”

However, to dodge police investigators, the siblings resorted to lies—asserting that their father went outside soon after returning home from the mosque.

To check the veracity of their statements, the sleuths gathered technical evidences that tracked Khursheed’s last movement in his house.

“We went through several circumstantial evidence, oral witnesses, CCTVs and technical analysis which proved that Khursheed was killed by his own family members at their home,” SHO Lateef says.

“After we nailed their lies with our meticulous investigation, both the brothers confessed their crime.”

The two siblings were arrested and the vehicle used in the commission of crime was also seized.

Tota brothers with cops

But what surprised everyone including police was the motive behind the murder.

“Ever since Khursheed had sold his ancestral property at Bilal Colony, Soura for over Rs. 90 lakh,” the SHO said, “his sons would insist him to handover the said amount to them—which apparently the deceased had refused.”

On the day of his murder, Khursheed had withdrawn Rs. four lakh from his fixed deposit account into his own saving account which led to the heated arguments between him and his sons.

Later that day, when he left to offer Taraweeh, the siblings including their mother waited for him to commit the murder most foul.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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