One can’t remember agnate siblings having shaken Kashmir like this until Tuesday, 4 September afternoon, when the police in the northern Baramulla district revealed how a middle-aged woman got her nine-year-old stepdaughter gang-raped by four men, including her own son, before she strangled her to death and got her eyes gouged out with a knife.
Fehmeeda (35) and her accomplices also mutilated the girl’s body with sulphuric acid and dumped her under the foliage of pine trees in her attempt to ensure that the murder remains shrouded in mystery.
The police, however, unravelled how the nine-year-old girl child had been waylaid under forest cover, gang-raped and strangled mercilessly by her half-brother and step-mother with the help of three others.
enior Superintendent of Police, Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, who personally supervised the whole investigation, told The Quint:
We were under tremendous pressure from several quarters as the district headquarters observed a shutdown, witnessed demonstrations and demands to identify and arrest [the girl’s] killers. Our boys worked hard 24x7 and thank God we were able to complete our investigation in just 12 days.
“After receiving the post-mortem report, we will submit the challan before a competent court as we have already arrested all the five persons involved in this horrible crime and seized all the material used in commission of rape and murder,” Mir asserted.
According to the police investigation, the victim’s father Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai of Lari Trikanjan, a village that sits on middle of the road between Baramulla and the LoC township of Uri, had married Fehmeeda, who lived in his neighbourhood, in the year 2001.
The couple have two sons who were 15 and 16 years old, and a daughter.
In the year 2008-09, Ganai married another woman, Khushboo, from Jharkhand.
In the last nine to ten years, Khushboo became the mother of two daughters and a son, all of them under 10 years of age.
While as Ganai’s first wife, Fehmeeda, looked after the grazing of cattle in the local jungles, Khushboo took over the responsibility of cooking meals and other domestic chores. Over the years, Fehmeeda began feeling that her husband shared more love and company with his younger wife and her three children.
It eventually crystallised into a Shakespearean tragedy as a jealous Fehmeeda decided to ruthlessly kill Khushboo and Ganai’s eldest child.
On 23 August, the minor, a standard three student of Government Primary School Lari Trikanjan, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Her father filed a missing report with Police Station Boniyar next day.
After groping in the dark for 10 days, Police finally recovered the child’s badly mutilated and partly decomposed body from forest cover about a mile from her residence on 2 September. The grisly find triggered more demonstrations.
The Special Investigation Team headed by Sub Divisional Police Officer of Uri, Merajuddin Ahmad, converted the missing report into a suspected case of rape and murder under FIR No: 43/2018.
SHO Iqbal Ahmad proved to be on the right track when he got the breakthrough within hours of arresting and questioning Ganai’s first wife Fehmeeda. She spilled the beans and identified all the characters, including two juveniles, involved in commissioning the crime. We detained and interrogated them all. Their revelations led to the recovery and seizure of weapons and articles used in the crime.
Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, SSP Baramulla
The SSP said that that all necessary samples of material and circumstantial evidence had been collected and despatched for thorough forensic analysis. He said that the accused had corroborated one another’s statements.
On the day of the crimes, Fehmeeda, who was armed with a sharp-edged knife, waylaid the minor and took her to a jungle. As per the plan, Fehmeeda’s son and his friends, along with Naseer Khan (28), followed them into the jungle.
After reaching a particular spot, Fehmeeda got the minor raped. First, by one of her son’s minor friends. Then in presence of Fehmeeda, her own son also raped his half-sister. Then, Naseer and another juvenile took turns to rape the child.
Thereafter, Fehmeeda herself strangled the nine-year-old girl. Her son then hit her head with an axe, to ensure that she was dead. The friend went back to his home and returned with a can of sulphuric acid, which he had used for maintenance of a vehicle.
One of the son’s friends then gouged out the little girl’s eyes with a knife. Her body was then badly mutilated with the sulphuric acid. In the end, the friend and Naseer dumped the body and covered it with twigs and branches of pine trees.
“Her physical condition and preliminary forensic analysis of the body has substantiated all these facts,” SSP Baramulla said.
He said that the seizure included the knife, the acid container, and other material related to the gruesome gang rape and murder of the young girl.
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