Six days after the throat-slit body of a minor girl was recovered in a village in the frontier Kupwara district of Kashmir, the police Monday said they have arrested her father for her killing.
The accused Mohammad Iqbal Khatana has confessed to committing the crime. His daughter was seven years old.
“We have arrested the father of the minor formally,” SSP Kupwara Yougal Manhas said in a press conference.
Giving details Manhas said on March 29 around 4:15 p.m, Mohammad Iqbal Khatana reached home and had an argument with his wife. The SSP said he had an argument with his wife on the morning of the same day also. Khatana had a strained relationship with his wife for the past one year and the couple would often have arguments and minor scuffles, the police said.
Showkat Khatana, the brother of Iqbal who reached home at around 6:15 p.m. was also present when the couple were quarrelling. It is at the same time Iqbal went to the kitchen, took a kitchen knife, and left the house saying that he has to fix his punctured stepney tyre.
"Iqbal intended to kill himself. His minor daughter followed him and asked for Rs five, and Iqbal gave her a Rs 10 note. Iqbal’s wife also followed him up to the courtyard; however, the minor followed her father up to the main road," the police said.
Iqbal’s cousin Asif Khatana and his uncle Salam Din Khatana saw his daughter following him up to the main road.
“All the people present were of the opinion that the minor left with her father, who went out to fix the stepney tyre of his vehicle," the police said.
The accused Iqbal took the minor in his vehicle up to the road crossing, and halted there till 8:10 p.m., waiting for Azaan, so that the street gets empty “making it convenient to kill himself,” according to the police.
As people left for the mosque, he drove his vehicle further to a place and halted his vehicle. “There, out of mental anguish due to domestic issues with his wife, he suffocated his minor daughter for around two to three minutes as a result she died on the spot. The incident happened at around 8:20 p.m.,” the police said.
With the body of the minor, the accused drove back to a crossing and parked his vehicle. The accused then took the body of the minor in his arms and walked towards a shed next to his uncle’s house.
The police said the accused placed the body there and then used his knife to slit her throat, so that the inmates of the houses adjacent to the shed are put to blame.
“Since the knife wasn’t sharp, and his hands were trembling out of fear and remorse when he placed the knife on the throat and began to cut, it slide down and the throat was slit below the first mark. Blood gushed out and its spatters got on his hands, sleeves and the bottom part of his pants,” the police said.
The accused left the crime scene and cleaned the knife and his hands. “Thereafter, he left for home, where he kept the knife back in the kitchen, and put on his Pheran (long cloth). But on seeing him without the minor, the panic gripped the family and the family began searching for the minor.”
“Iqbal along with a few other persons reached the police post-Khurhama in his vehicle to lodge a missing report of the minor,” the police said.
In the meanwhile, the body was located by the family. The police said they suspected the family during the investigation as they gave different versions of the incident and how the minor “disappeared” from the home. The police said they have only arrested one person in the case so far.