The ‘Murder’ of a Young Mother


Bilal Handoo




On June 25 last month, a young mother from Hamla village of Handwara’s Rajwar Block returned to her in-law’s home from the main Handwara market with a bag of eatables for her kids. As clock ticked 4pm later that day, 26-year-old Reeshma—who was breastfeeding an infant daughter was found mysteriously dead.

That day, her father, Saifuddin Doyi, a carpenter working in Srinagar ran frantically back home after news of his elder daughter’s death came. The news was equally shattering for Reeshma’s mother, grandmother and siblings living barely 5km from Hamla in Golipora village. They rushed to her in-laws to make sense of sudden death of their elder daughter, who was Doyi’s “elder son”.

As they started trickling inside Reeshma’s in-law’s house, they were told that their daughter died by falling from height—the story her parent’s suspected. Amid mouring, a lingering sense of suspicion continued bothering the parents. And then, all of the sudden, the secret over the young mother’s death was out.

On the fateful day, Reeshma’s elder daughter—Kulsum (5) had seen  how her mother was done to death. She told her maternals that once Reeshma returned home with bagful of eatables including bananas and beans for her daughters, four persons choked her mouth till she breathed her last.

With sobbing voice, Kulsum named the murderers, including Reeshma’s two sister-in-laws (Naseema and Nasim), one brother-in-law (Rafiq) and their aunt (Sakhya).

The murder, Doyi, the grieving father, realised was on cards on face of frequent tiff at her in-laws for some time before being executed with almost perfection by the killers.

After child’s revelation, Reeshma’s parents went to nearby Drageldara Police Post on June 26 to register a case. The cops promised swift action and as a matter of fact, they shortly rounded up all the four accused. The speedy police action sparked a hope of justice in Reeshma’s parents. But when they saw their daughter’s killers roaming free a few days later, they were left shocked. They approached police who for sake of “face-saving exercise” put the killers behind bars during day and “send them home during night”.

Over this fate of justice, Reeshma’s parents are inconsolable. Being pauper, they find themselves at crossroads to seek justice from alternate route for her daughter. And much to their dismay, Reeshma’s husband, Shabir, is unmoved over the loss.

Reeshma had been married to Shabir for last six years. In all these years, she would frequently confide her woes to her parents. She would tell her mother, Sakeena, “Mother, I am being passed through hell at my in-laws.” The mother would console her, saying, “We all face such things. Don’t worry. Things will improve. Just stay patient.” But she was wrong. For Reeshma, things only worsened.

Some 20 days before her “murder”, she rang up her father, “Father, you know what my sister-in-laws did? They mixed urine in the water pitcher I brought home from a nearby stream. Tell me, how I am suppose to feed my kids now?” Shocked over the revelation, the father insisted his daughter to return home, but she replied, “I can’t. I have no money to travel. They have forcibly taken away my daughters from me, how could I come, leaving them here alone.”

At Drageldara Police Post, Assistaint Sub-Inspector, Abdul Rashid says police have taken action in a case under Sec 174. “We are waiting for a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report before taking a final action in the case,” he says. The cop admits tiff in the Gujjar family saying that Reeshma was putting up alone with her husband for last two years and would often face her “hounding” in-laws.

Now when the case is taking time to head towards its logical conclusion, perhaps it is not very hard to imagine how traumatic things would be for Reeshma’s parents.

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