BANDIPORA: A 35-year-old Health department employee and mother of three children was allegedly tortured and burned to death by her in-laws in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Saturday, her family said on Tuesday.
Rehana Gulzar, a Female Multipurpose Health Worker (FMPHW) at Sub-Centre Panaar village, “was first tortured and later burned alive by her in-laws” at her home in Ahemsharief village of the district, where she had lived for the past nine years following her marriage.
“Though she suffered years of constant abuse and harassment at the hands of her in-laws, who include her father- and mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, who never let her live peacefully, they didn’t go through with a divorce because of the good relationship between the couple,” Rehana’s father said.
Rehana was brought to the District Hospital with grievous burn injuries on October 6 and was shifted to SKIMS hospital in Srinagar where she succumbed the next day at 2:20 pm.
“Rehana has received 100 percent flame injuries,” read the report prepared by SKIMS hospital, which gave the cause of death as “cardiorespiratory arrest”. She was later brought back to District Hospital Bandipora, were doctors conducted her postmortem.
The shattered father said that the day Rehana died, he had helped his daughter buy a plot of land on which she and her husband were to construct a separate house. “It was the same Sunday of October 7 when they were to lay the foundation stone for their new house that she stepped into her grave.”
Though her in-laws have stated the cause of death as suicide, the family is not buying their version and are demanding a high-level probe, with the Crime Branch stepping into the case.
“We don’t have any doubts about the police investigation, but the person who brought her up to this works in the same department; furthermore, one of their cousins also works in the police department, so we demand for Crime Branch to take up the case,” her father said.
Rehana has left behind three small children, including is specially-abled boy. The children are too small to understand what has happened around them; they were seen playing in the compound, unaware of their mother’s death.
Scores of the Health officials, among whom were Rehana’s former colleagues, protested in Bandipora in a rally from Nusu to Gulshan Chowk on Tuesday. Holding placards, they demanded that justice be done for Rehana by bringing her killers to book.
A police officer confirmed to Kashmir Reader that an FIR has been registered in the case and all the in-laws have been detained for questioning.