Burka-clad burglars and the dazed jeweller: Story behind the viral video

A day after two burka-clad shoplifters knocked a jeweller unconscious in Srinagar and fled with his gold, JK police is calling it a highly organised felony where veiled thieves didn’t leave any clue behind.

It was so well-planned and flawlessly-executed that sleuths are yet to achieve any breakthrough in the case which shocked Kashmir on the evening of June 3, 2019.

The shoplifting was first seen in a viral video, showing two Burka-clad burglars knocking Ishfaq Ahmad Zargar, the owner of Marhaba – The Jewelers, of Srinagar’s Barbarshah unconscious—before fleeing with the looted jewellery from his shop.

24 hours later, Ishfaq’s workforce was still wondering about what happened. They’re yet to calculate the worth of jewellery stolen.

However, the Zargar family is grateful that the owner survived the attack.

Ishfaq’s elder brother, Afaaq Ahmad Zargar told Free Press Kashmir that people frequently visit their shop throughout the day. But when his brother was attacked, surprisingly, no one showed up.

“They [Buglers] must have used amulets to prevent people from coming in,” said an elderly man, sitting in the shop. “Otherwise, the shopkeeper who runs a shop opposite to this one visits the shop exactly at this point to get keys. CRPF is also around all the time.”

The theft was very well executed.

The shop in Barbershah area of Srinagar where the theft took place.

The two women had come covered from head to toe, asking Ishfaq to show them some rings.

They had selected the one that didn’t fit in their fingers. They had then insisted on getting the size changed right at that time.

“Ishfaq had asked them to come after Eid but they had told him they wanted to wear it on the festival,” Afaaq said.

Hearing that, Ishfaq had asked his salesman Sharoz to get the ring resized. After he left, the owner was alone in the shop with the two women.

One woman sounded like a Kashmiri, “with weird accent”, while the other didn’t speak at all.

“People are now asking us why we didn’t ask the women to show us their face, but how was that ethical,” Afaaq said.

The women had gradually shown interest in buying an expensive jewellery set.

Ishfaq had reached out to his locker and was showing them the sets available in the shop, when one of the thieves made him smell something and instantly knocked him unconscious.

A screen grab showing one of the women knocking Ashfaq unconscious.

He lied on the floor for about 20 minutes, before a passerby alerted his other salesman, Adil, who had gone out for some work.

“I went inside and saw the locker open,” Adil told Free Press Kashmir. “I immediately called people in and they took him to the hospital. We assumed he must have lost consciousness due to fasting. But when we checked the CCTV footage, we were shocked to see what happened.”

At the hospital, when Ishfaq gained consciousness, he told his family that two women used some smell and pricked his neck with some needle.

“Even today when he’s at home, we are not able to understand what he’s saying. He’s in a state of deep shock,” Afaaq said. “But police is doing a good job. Local SHO came and checked the footage for 2 hours. We really hope they catch the culprits soon.”

Police Station Kralkhud has already registered an FIR under 17/2019 on the basis of CCTV footage received from Marhaba Jewellers.

“The incident was highly planned and it’s the first such well-executed theft, where even fingerprints have not been left behind,” SHO Kralkhud Showkat Hussain told Free Press Kashmir. “The women burglars were fully covered wearing Burka and hand gloves.”

The officer said they are also looking into other nearby CCTV footages and gathering eyewitness accounts to crack the case, where the shoplifters haven’t left much clue behind.


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