SRINAGAR: In the sensational murder of a newlywed couple in Behibagh (Kulgam), Principal Sessions Judge, Tahir Khurshid Raina sent two of the three convicts to life imprisonment till their “last breath”. The third convict died in jail during the trial of the case.
Though the prosecution has established the involvement of the convicts already, the clinching evidence came from their son, Yawar, who was less than three years old when his parents were killed before his eyes. His statement was taken on record only in 2017. The murders took place during the intervening night of June 29 and 30, 2009.
“Let them incarcerate in the jail till their last breath”, the court judgment reads. “Let them not die with a single death for causing the barbaric death of the young couple, leaving behind their three years old child but have a continuous deep penitence of their cruel crime committed, coupled with a continuous feel of its consequences”.
This was in response to the prosecution seeking the death penalty, insisting the case does fall in the “rarest of the rare cases”.
The murder is the foulest case reported in Jammu and Kashmir. One of the convicts sent to jail for life is none other than the brother of the victim.
The details of the case are tragic. According to the details revealed to Kashmir Life by Arshad A Baba, who was a lawyer for the victims, on the prosecution side, said four friends started gambling at the house of the victim, Shiraz Ahmad Shah. Three others were Mohammad Ismail Shah, Bilal Ahmad Shah (brother of the victim), and Mohammad Ishaq Shah.
“Shiraz lost Rs 10,000 while gambling and had the urge to play more and approached his wife, Jameela, the mother of his three-year-old son, Yawar,” Bab told Kashmir Life. “She refused to offer any money. This infuriated the entire gang and they jointly killed Jameela. In order not to leave a witness behind, the trio later killed Shiraz as well.”
Somehow, they left Yawar untouched, who incidentally was watching the goriest scene of his life – losing his parents forever. The killer had used an axe in the twin murders.
Public Prosecutor, Aijaz Ahmad told reporters that as the police started investigations, the bodies were missing. On July 7, the body of Jameela was recovered from a bush in an apple orchard. Two days later on July 9, the corpse of Shiraz was recovered. On July 12, the accused hinted at knowing the crime and the disclosures led to the recovery of blood-drenched clothes of the victims and the axe.
“It was Yawar, who was crucial from day one,” Baba said. “On the very first day when Yawar met his grandfather – father of his mother, who also lived in the same village, he narrated the details in his own way. That set the alarm ticking and the police finally established the murder.”
Baba said the court did see the minor as a perfect witness but waited till he grew up and recorded his statement in 2017. “He narrated the same story, no change barring he could now peak well.”
The accused had been charge-sheeted already. All three were in jail. It was there that Ismail died leaving only the two to face the trail.
Finally, when the court pronounced the judgment, the court in Kulgam broke into a sort of celebration. Yawar, his Mamu and his grandfather, broke down publicly. In court, Yawar was garlanded by lawyers, in order to help him come out of the age-old trauma. The prosecution had already pleaded before the court that the boy requires compensation.
The court directed that the boy should get an amount of Rs 4 lakh.
However, Baba said the priority is that the boy should get an adequate education. “I visited his school and met his teachers,” Baba said. “The priority is that to help him come out of the trauma, he needs to be sent to some boarding school so that he leaves the space linked to his painful memories.” The lawyer, however, asserted that the boy is in safe hands.