When a junior engineer left her four-year-old kid home and jumped off the bridge at Zaina Kadal to commit suicide, it shocked everyone. Six weeks later there is no trace of her body. Saima Bhat pieces together last moment of her life and the dilemma that surrounds the case
At around 8:30 pm on May 5, 2017, a young girl, whose short and thin frame caught attention of a coppersmith, walked nervously towards the centre of the Zaina Kadal (bridge) in old Srinagar.
Before the coppersmith could have taken his eyes off her, the girl, whose face was covered with a scarf, took a long leap and jumped straight into the Jhelum River.
Same time, a biker, who was riding on the bride, tried his best to grab the girl by her dress, but failed. She fell in the water with a long bang, sending a shower of water up in the air.
Five minutes later, a white Hyundai i10 car, came towards the bridge from the opposite direction and suddenly stopped.
A young man named Javed Ahmad Bungree, 38, got out of the car and walked calmly towards the coppersmith’s shop and asked him: has anyone jumped from the bridge a while ago?
“Yes,” replied the coppersmith.
Then Javed, who was accompanied by two women, said calmly, “Afsoos (Alas!), she was three months pregnant.”
Later coppersmith was told that the girl whom he saw jumping was Mudasir Aziz, 37, an engineer. Mudasir was married to Javed since 2012. They had a four-year-old son.
Since then, everyday at 6 am, Mudasir’s brother Irfan, who is staying at his sister’s house in Pandan Nowhatta, reaches the spot from where his sister allegedly jumped.
At 8 am, Irfan is joined by three boats: one each from police, NDRF and Tourism. Together they scan the area till sunset hoping to find Mudasir’s body. “So far we have failed to trace her,” said a local boatman. “As body is not floating it means she must have a deep wound.”
Second among four siblings Mudasir’s parents, Abdul Aziz Butta and Begum Syeda, are at loss as why a “mature, intelligent, and reserved” kind of person will commit suicide?
That day, at 7:45 pm, Irfan received a call from his brother-in-law Javed asking him if Mudasir had come to Mallbagh, where he lives in a rented house with his parents. “I asked him if she has taken her car along?” recalls Irfan. But Javed told him that Mudasir’s car is with him. “Then I asked him from where she left?”
Javed told him that they were at their buwa (aunt’s) house in Ellahi Bagh when Mudasir left. “He told me that right now he is looking for her at 90 feet road,” recalls Irfan. “I thought its normal fight between a husband and wife.”
Javed lives barely half-a-kilometer away from his aunt’s house. Between Javed and his aunt’s house lives Mudasir’s cousin and maternal uncle. “I thought she must have gone to one of the two places,” said Irfan.
Ten minutes later Irfan received another call from Javed who told him that he has reached Nowhatta. “I was surprised why Javed reached Nowhatta instead of looking for Mudasir at their relative’s house,” said Irfan.
Two minutes later Javed called Irfan again, this time he said he was at old Zaina Kadal. His tone was different. “He said Mudasir has jumped into the river,” recalls Irfan. “I was shocked.”
Instantly, Irfan left from Mallabagh in his car. On way he called his cousin and asked him to take his parents home.
By the time Irfan reached Zaina Kadal, his brother-in-law Javed was already taken into custody by the police.
The coppersmith, who turned out be Irfan’s distant relative told him that he saw a girl jump into the river. “But he was not sure if it was my sister Mudasir,” recalls Irfan.
It was the coppersmith and other shopkeepers who had informed the police about Javed as they sensed something foul. “He (Javed) asked me straightaway if a girl has jumped into the river,” recalls the coppersmith. “It made me suspicious and I informed the local police.”
It took Irfan at least 25 minutes to reach Zaina Kadal from Mallabagh, but Javed as per his telephonic conversations reached there in less than 10 minutes!
“I thought she wants to cross the bridge but once she moved a few steps ahead, without climbing the iron grill, she jumped in the air and then into the Jhelum,” said the coppersmith. “The way she jumped I thought she was some professional. Or she was completely dedicated to give up her life.”
The biker who made a last desperate attempt to pull her back, later refused to testify. But it was the coppersmith’s testimony that added to the confusion. “I have seen her growing. I remember her body structure,” said the coppersmith who runs a shop at Zaina Kadal since last 15 years. “That is why I think the girl who jumped into the river was not Mudasir.”
In all these years the coppersmith has witnessed a number of suicides, but this one was different for more than one reasons.
“Minutes after she jumped, her husband’s car came from the other side of the bridge,” he recalls. “If Javed was coming from Ellahibagh, as he claimed, then he should have come from Nowhatta side, not the opposite one.”
Second thing that puts a question mark on Javed’s story is his presence at the scene within five minutes of Mudasir’s alleged suicide.
Irfan’s eldest brother-in-law, who lives just a few meters away from Zaina Kadal in Pandan Chowk, Nowhatta, also reached the spot after rumours of Mudasir’s suicide spread. Irfan’s cousin brought his father along. “At 1:30 am, police recorded our statements,” said Irfan. “Javed was already in police custody.”
But Irfan and his father requested the station officer to release Javed. “How could Javed kill his wife as they were in love with each other,” said Mudasir’s father Abdul Aziz.
Once out of police station, one of Mudasir’s uncles asked Javed what he did to their daughter. “I told her to jump in to the Jhelum,” Javed reportedly told his uncle which led to fight.
A few moments before Javed was arrested, he called his mother-in-law, then his Mudasir’s sisters and told them, “Mudasir can’t come back now, she has jumped into Jhelum.”
As days passed and police and other rescue teams failed to fish out Mudasir’s body, her parents alleged that Javed and his family are changing their statements.
“Why she travelled 8 kms to Zaina Nadal to jump into the river when she could have done the same near her house?” asks Irfan.
Since May 05, Mudasir’s family has locked their rented house in Mallabagh, and shifted to their eldest daughter’s house in Pandaan. Mudasir’s mother, whose dark eyes bear testimony to sleepless nights she had spent waiting for her daughter asks just one question: “Why a girl, who is a Junior Engineer and had her recommended promotion due, would commit suicide?”
When nobody answered she murmured again, “She never left her son alone. Then how can she leave her son alone and take such an extreme step.”
On June 06, 2012, Mudasir, an M.tec married Javed, a Class 12 pass out, after convincing her family. Including the courtship period Javed and Mudasir were together for around 18 years.
“We have been together for so long. How can I kill her,” asks Javed while talking to Kashmir Life over phone. When pressed further for more information Javed said he won’t talk till Mudasir’s body is found.
“Despite on and off issues with her mother-in-law I know how Javed always stood by Mudasir. He never left her alone,” said Mudasir’s elder sister.
However Mudasir’s family alleged that Javed, who has Kashmir arts business in Dubai, never took his wife along. “Javed family used to argue that none of their daughter-in-laws have ever gone to Dubai, then how can Mudasir go,” said Irfan.
But the issue got solved after Mudasir gave birth to a baby boy. “After that Javed never stayed away from home for more than 15 days,” said Irfan. “He preferred to stay with his family which irked his mother and sister.”
The day Mudasir allegedly committed suicide she spoke to both of her sisters over phone. “She invited me and mother to her house on coming Sunday,” said Mudasir’s elder sister, who is in her ninth month of pregnancy. “She discussed her visit to the gynecologist with our youngest sister. She was going to visit her in the evening.”
The doctor had told Mudasir that she is having a tubular pregnancy. “He (doctor) had advised her to wait before they could take any decision to abort the fetus. She was mentally prepared for the same. It was the second time Mudasir had conceived a tubular baby,” said her elder sister.
However both sisters deny any knowledge about Mudasir’s visit to Javed’s aunt’s place. “We want to know what happened in those two hours she spent at Javed’s aunt’s house,” asks her elder sister. “There were six people present in the house including Javed, his sister, two kids and Mudasir. We want to know why she left that house.”
Mudasir’s mother alleges that Javed used to accompany his daughter all the time since last one month. “Wherever she went he would come along. She couldn’t even visit her sister’s place alone,” alleged her mother. “Even during our phone conversations I could feel he was around. She would never talk freely.”
A distant relative of Mudasir feels, “A wife can take such an extreme step only when she feels her husband is cheating on her.”
When contacted Javed’s father and uncles refused to talk saying they will wait till police finds out where Mudasir is. They refused to let this reporter talk to any of the female members inside the house.
One of the relatives Javed’s relatives, who wanted to stay anonymous said, “We heard Mudasir had an head injury before she jumped.”
A look at Mudasir’s Facebook and Instagram accounts suggest something was bothering her, said her sister.
As of now a case stands registered in Zaina Kadal police station: FIR no. 29/2017 under 309 RPC.
“We cannot say anything conclusively till we retrieve her body,” said SHO M R Gunj Police station. “We are sending our team daily to retrieve the body. Once we find a body, only then we can say if it is Mudasir or not.”
As of now the DIG Kashmir has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to find out where is Mudasir.