H(e)aven no more

The incidence of three gruesome murders in Kashmir in less than a month’s time,
speaks alarmingly of the crime graph here. Clearly, there is great stress on doing
everything possible to bring the figures down and create a safer society.

Mian Tufail

THE Valley witnessed yet another horrific case of crime last month. And unfortunately enough, like many other such cases, this too was triggered by extreme addiction to drugs.
In a spine-chilling incident at Dangarpora area of Sopore, Kashmir, a son known to be a serious drug-addict, strangulated his mother on a pious night of Ramazan. Such was the influence of drugs on the man that a small burst of anger grew into a gut-wrenching act of crime. The incident sent shock waves across the Valley reminding the public of the urgency with which the drug menace needs to be handled. Kashmir Central spoke to the victim’s family and some others about the incident. As per locals, Showkat, the accused, would
remain under a heavy influence of drugs most times. His family is said to have handed him to the police several times but the latter would apparently release him soon later, fearing he might die in custody due to drug overdose. He was also admitted to a drug de-addiction centre in Baramulla from where he escaped after three weeks.

The incident

The victim – Ayesha Begum – was a woman in her 70s and mother to two sons. Known to be a warm-hearted woman, she was forced to live a life of poverty after the death of her husband. Her two sons had got married and had decided to live separately, as has become a norm in Kashmir now. Showkat, the accused, was her younger son. As per family members, Ayesha loved Showkat immensely and had chosen to live with him, turning down the request of the elder son to live with him in his concrete house. The elder brother narrates the incident: “At around 11 pm, after the night tarawee prayers, me and my wife who recently underwent an operation, were about to sleep to wake up early for the sehri. That was when Showkat started knocking at the door of my house. My wife got scared, but I mustered the courage to open the door. He insisted upon me to come out in the lawn and said that militants were hiding in his house. I resisted him and tried to shut the door of my house. He started yelling in the compound, using abusive language and broke down the glass windows of my house. My wife started crying and I too got scared since I noticed that he could harm because he was under an intense influence of drugs”. So how did the elder brother come to know of the mother’s murder? The elder son says: “Showkat called the army saying that several militants were hiding in his house. The army cordoned off the area and requested us to accompany them to Showkat’ house. When the house and the compound were searched, there was no sign of militants hiding. But when we went to the cowshed, we saw a dead body under a flattened log of wood. That is how we
discovered the body of my mother”. Wiping tears from his eyes, the elder brother adds: “I’m thankful to the army and the police for providing their vehicle to rush our mother
to the hospital in that state. The doctors tried to revive my mother but she was declared dead after ten minutes. Showkat later confessed to the police that he had killed our mother by hanging her.” The police, in a statement, said that the accused had left the house after killing his mother. Soon, the police launched a massive manhunt for the accused and finally arrested him that very night and took him under detention.

Crime graph touches dangerous peaks
Look at the alarming frequency of crimes in Kashmir itself. Within a month, the Valley has
witnessed at least three such gory incidents. There was one incident wherein a carpenter,
whose marriage proposal had been turned down by a young lady in Budgam, went ahead
and killed her and cut her body into pieces and buried them around her house. The Jammu & Kashmir police nabbed the accused in less than a week. The gruesome murder was condemned throughout the Valley and stringent punishment was demanded for the accused. Then, just a day before the Sopore incident, a girl child was found dead with her throat slit, buried under a bag of cement in the border area of Kupwara district. The police rushed to the spot and filed a case to carry out further investigations. Under SSP Kupwara, the case was resolved in three days. The father of the girl was arrested who confessed before the police, that it was he who had murdered her and later cut her throat.
As per the police, a minute fight between the man and his wife had triggered him to kill his
daughter to ‘teach his wife a lesson’.

Report by the Home Ministry
On the day of the Sopore incident, the Ministry of Home Affairs, while responding to a question posed by Anantnag MP Hasnain Masoodi, said that nearly 10 lakh people in Jammu & Kashmir were addicted to drugs. A leading psychiatrist and social activist
working for a drug-free Kashmir Dr. Arif Maghrabi, says, that Kashmir is passing through
terrible times since more than half of the youth is addicted to drugs. Says he: “It’s the
responsibility of parents, the civil society and the elders to keep a tight vigil on the
movement of the youngsters in their families. Also, drug de-addiction centres should be
opened in every district wherein proper counselling be provided. Psychiatric counselling
at school level and conducting drug tests under supervision are also urgently needed”.


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