Woman’s family alleges ‘dowry death’
Anantnag: Accusing the in-laws of torture and harassment, the family of a woman who died in mysterious circumstances earlier this month are demanding a case of “dowry death” be filed.
Married to Ishtiyaq Ahmed Hagroo of Nandpora locality in Khanabal for one and half years, Firdousa Akhter, 32, died under mysterious circumstances during the intervening night of April 6 and 7. Firdousa’s family alleged that the death was sudden and mysterious and that she was being physically tortured by her in-laws who would often ask her to bring money from her home.
While the police has registered a case under section 174 (inquest) and arrested the husband on family’s complaint, but on Saturday Firdousa’s family and relatives held a protest outside deputy commissioner’s office demanding charges under section 304 B, which relates to dowry death, be registered against the husband.
“The whole incident of her death is suspicious. Her in-laws had already abandoned her body in the hospital. Her mother had talked to her at around 10:30 during that night and she seemed in no trouble then. Couple of hours later, we received a call from her in laws at around 12:45 am that Firdousa had fallen unconscious after couple of hiccups and was admitted in district hospital Anantnag. On reaching there we saw all of them at the gate of the hospital and we were informed by the hospital staff about her death. Not even her husband was there. It was the doctor, who suspected something fishy in her death, and he had called the police instantly.” Farooq Ahmed, Firdousa’s brother said. He said that Firdousa had on several occasions complained about physical torture by her in-laws. The family says that her in-laws had sold off her gold rings within seven days of her marriage without her knowledge.
Firdousa’s younger sister, Aasiya, said that Firdousa had talked to her on the phone in the day, and told her that her in-laws were “hatching some conspiracy”. Firdousa has kept her jewelry at her maternal home, last year, during the uprising as Nandpora locality was insecure. “They had been demanding that she hands over them the gold ornaments which Firdousa had kept in the possession of her mother since last year’s uprising as police often used to enter homes in Nandpora locality breaking windows and belongings inside the houses. It was her husband only who had handed over the ornaments, worth eight lakh rupees, to us last year fearing they might be looted at their home. But now, they were demanding that she brings all those ornaments back including Mehar of 20,000 rupees as they had to clear off some debts by selling these ornaments. Her in-laws had also demanded an additional amount of 60,000 rupees. They had already sold two of her gold rings during the initial days of her marriage to pay for the expenses in the function without telling Firdousa. Since then they had been beating her and would demand money every now and then,” Aasiya said.
The family alleged that police was not doing enough to investigate this matter and suspected that Hagroo’s may be using money or political connections to influence the case. Station House Officer, Sadder police station Anantnag Ayaz Geelani told Kashmir Reader that the case was under investigation.
“The investigation in this matter is on under section 174 and the accused, Ishtiyaq Ahmed, husband of the victim, was arrested on this Friday after the family of the deceased moved an application in this regard. We are awaiting the post mortem reports,” said Geelani, the SHO.