The gruesome murder surfaced on the heels of a string of such crimes happening in the mainland where callous murderers kill and chop their partners’ bodies and scatter them around to conceal the crime.
SOIBUGH, Budgam — The girl’s family is bitterly breaking down in each other’s arms, as villagers vainly try to console them. Wailing women faint and fall on the ground, slapping their forehead in shock. Some even scratch soil with nails to mourn the chilling crime. Small children on the sidelines sob watching their adults crying their hearts out.
Amid this agonized atmosphere, the family screams—“How’ll we bury you, O’ our beautiful bride, in parts!”
The pain of the gruesome murder has numbed the whole village — reverberating with the “hang the murderer” cries.
The dreadful demise of a diligent daughter is also making the majority in this central Kashmir village wonder about the “deteriorating social fabric”.
“We’re not offering this funeral to a poor soul today,” says a cleric, as young and old men cry like children, “we’re offering it to our dead conscience.”
Among the grievers is young Umar — a cousin of the 30-year-old Budgam girl butchered in a barbaric manner.
He recalls the day, March 7, when she routinely left home, at around 10:30 am, for computer classes in her hometown.
After completing her Masters recently, the girl was now pursuing a one-year diploma in computer applications and used to come back home till afternoon.
But that day, Umar recalls, her cousin didn’t turn up even by evening—forcing her family members to call on her cellphone number, which was not reachable.
“Without wasting any time,” the cousin recalls, “her brother along with some relatives went out to search for his sibling. But they couldn’t locate her.”
The girl’s brother then approached the police post, Soibugh and registered a missing report. And soon, the investigation was launched in one of the rattling crime cases of Kashmir.
“We gathered all our technical inputs and then summoned many suspects for questioning,” SSP Al-Tahir Gilani, Budgam Police Chief, told Kashmir Observer.
Among the suspects was an unassuming mason from Mohandpora, Budgam. His name was Shabir Wani, a 45-year-old married man with two children.
“After sustained questioning,” SSP said, “Shabir confessed his crime.”
But what was even shocking for cops was the manner in which this crime was committed.
The mason had first murdered the girl before chopping her body into pieces and disposing of them at two locations: Railway bridge Ompora and Sebden area of Budgam.
Later, a battery of cops would visit the crime spot and retrieve the girl’s severed head and other body parts.
“This was a blind murder but we managed to crack it within the shortest possible time,” an investigating officer told Kashmir Observer. “The accused had chopped-off the body to conceal his crime.”
At Soibugh, these crime details are now making many restless. Some are beating their chest in pain, while others are exhorting to make an example of such “monsters” committing these heinous crimes.
“It’s a wake-up call for all of us,” says Zubair Khan, a young villager. “We can’t leave everything to the police. We need to identify these monsters among us and take them to task for the sake of our family’s safety and security.”
Meanwhile, police handed over the body parts to the family for last rites after conducting all the medico-legal formalities.
“She was the eldest among three siblings and recently engaged to a man in a neighboring village,” Umar continues. “She was scheduled to get married in August this year.”
Amid the family agony and account, the investigating officer quoted above said that the police caught the mason after checking the woman’s call details.
“Initial investigations,” he said, “have revealed that the accused and the slain might’ve developed some strain relation leading to the gruesome crime.”
But SSP Budgam said the case is still a work in progress. “We’re investigating all possible angles,” he said. “The postmortem has been completed and we’re collecting scientific evidence for the investigation.”
However, many still wonder that if the accused and the girl were living in two different villages, how did the crime happen?
“Shabir used to visit my cousin’s home as he was working in her area only,” Umar says. “However, there wasn’t any sort of relationship between them. But who knows he might’ve been blackmailing her.”
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