SRINAGAR: The family members of Owais Bashir Malik, the young man murdered in the infamous Peerbagh case, claim to have found a clue about his kidnapping/killing at an abandoned house at Wanbal, near Rawalpora.
The family, which says they have been conducting “an independent investigation” claim to have found bloodstains in the house and also recovered Owais’ handkerchief from the spot.
On May 11, Bashir Ahmad Malik, the father, along with his relatives, was informed by an acquaintance that “He saw Owais in Sanat Nagar chowk carrying something in a silver foil — a chicken roll, probably”, and when the family inquired further they finally reached a house where they found “evidence” which, they claim, “proves that Owais was killed there”.
“Since this newspaper (Kashmir Reader) published the preliminary forensic report we lost our trust in the police who were taking undue advantage of our innocence. No one from our family had seen Owais’ dead body. And from that day we started investigating things on our own,” Bashir says, adding “We met scores of people, anyone who had even a slight connection with Owais, and as a result of the investigation, we reached the spot where Owais was tortured and killed.”
When Owais went missing, and the family lodged a report, the police traced his phone calls, and the last call was apparently traced to Rawalpora, which strengthened the suspicions of the family about the house. “It’s an under-construction house. When we went there we found bloodstains all over. There were empty cigarette packets, cards and some burnt bricks. And, importantly, we found Owais’ handkerchief there. We think he was gagged with it. I recognised it, for it was my handkerchief, actually. We have a habit at home, we keep 2-3 handkerchief’s ironed and whosoever wants one, takes it. And we never leave home without a handkerchief. And on the day Owais went missing, he was carrying this handkerchief,” Bashir says.
The family, in shock after finding these clues, say they called the police to the spot. The latter then called the Forensic Science Laboratory team (FSL).The FSL team couldn’t take samples that day, as it had become dark. But the family clicked pictures and stayed there the whole night, to ensure no one fudges with the evidence.
On 12 May, the FSL team arrived at 7 am and took the blood samples, the report on which is yet to come. The family also took samples for independent investigation.
The forensic report, which the police presented before the court yesterday, says Owais had burn marks on his thighs. The marks seemed to be made by a rectangular object, and on the site, some burnt bricks were found, the family claims.
Locals in this Rawalpora area also say that in January, they saw bloodstains in a lane, but thought a wild animal had eaten some other animal. “We bought bait from the forest department as well, but after a couple of weeks we didn’t notice any moment of an animal and got to know that someone probably was killed here. And this month, when the police came here, we got to know that a boy has been tortured here and later killed,” says one local.
“We will soon find the real culprit,” says Bashir Ahmad, “we have no faith in the investigation of the police. In four and a half months their investigation claimed that Owais was killed on the railway track and later his body was devoured by dogs, but yesterday the forensic report nailed their lie.”