Witness reports distress calls in self-immolation case

Witness reports distress calls in self-immolation case

Nusrat Sidiq
Srinagar: The sister of self-immolation victim today deposed in court that she received distress calls from the victim on the day she allegedly poured kerosene and set herself ablaze.
The case pertains to the death of Mehjabeena Akhter on 25th September 2015. Akhter had committed suicide after alleged torture by her in-laws, at Kawa Mohalla in Srinagar, where she lived with her husband, Mohammad Rafiq Sofi, and his family.
“On 25th September, my sister called me many times on phone,” the sister said. “First, when her husband slapped her. She called again when she was beaten up by her sister-in-law. The last call I received was when she was threatened to be killed by her in laws”.
The witness, the 23rd out of 29 witnesses listed in this case, said that married life never proved peaceful for the victim. In a previous hearing, the court had granted bail to three of the four accused in the case. Akhter’s mother-in-law, Fatima, and two sister-in-laws, Jameela and Saleema, are on bail while the victim’s husband, Mohammad Rafiq Sofi, is lodged at Srinagar’s Central Jail.
In a statement, recorded with police, before the victim breathed her last at SMHS Hospital, Akhter said, “I ended my life after facing repeated dowry harassments from my in-laws.”
Police later registered a FIR no 63/2015 under section 306, 309 and 498-A of RPC in Khanyar police station. A post mortem report (no. 1032) categorically stated that the deceased has been a victim of conflict with her husband and in-laws.

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