‘They beat me up, drenched me in kerosene and then set me on fire’

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In chilling video, the victim blames her husband, in-laws for setting her on fire

‘She has suffered 95% burn injuries. Her chance of survival are minimal’

Srinagar: Inside the “Burn Ward” of SMHS hospital, a 28-year-old Sahiba (name changed) is lying lifeless on the hospital bed.

She was taken out from the dressing room moments ago, and the stretcher on which she was transported is drenched in her blood.

From her neck to her feet, she is clothed in white bandages. Her eyes and lips bulge out of her scorched face.

From south Kashmir’s Ompora village of Anantnag, Sahiba, a mother of an 18-month-old son and an 8-year-old daughter was allegedly burnt by her abusive husband and his parents in the dead of night on March 24.

“On March 24, at around 3 in the night, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, Sahiba’s husband called us and lied that Sahiba set herself on fire and they have taken her to the Anantnag district hospital from where she has been referred to SMHS hospital in Srinagar,” said Hilal Ahmad, Sahiba’s cousin who was attending to Sahiba in the hospital.

“We rushed to the SMHS hospital where she was operated upon. Her in-laws were present in the hospital and informed us that she did it herself.”

Sahiba’s family does not believe Lone.

Earlier, the same night, they had received a call from Lone who had asked them to take Sahiba back as they “had a fight”.

“It was midnight, we told Mushtaq to keep her there till tomorrow morning. Since 2010, when she was married to Mushtaq, he used to beat her often and she was frequently dropped at her parents’ home. However, Sahiba loved her husband. She did not want a divorce from him. That is why she was tolerating his behavior with the hope that he will realize his mistakes one day. But she was wrong,” said Sahiba’s aunt.

A day after being burnt, when Sahiba briefly gained consciousness, she spoke to her brother.

In a video testimony, which is with Free Press Kashmir, she said that she was beaten and then set on fire.

“I was beaten by Mushtaq and his parents, Aisha Banoo and Shahban Lone. They drenched me in kerosene and set me ablaze,” she is seen saying in the video.

Hilal said that she has also confirmed and recorded the statement in front of Anantnag Police.

For the last two days, Sahiba is battling for her life in the hospital.

According to the doctors, she has “zero percent chance of survival”.

“She has suffered 95% burn injuries. Her injuries are third-degree deep which means burn injuries have reached the fat layer beneath her skin. She has been burnt from head to legs. Only her feet are safe rest all is burnt. The chance of her survival are minimal,” said a doctor wishing anonymity.

Anantnag police have summoned Mushtaq and his parents to the police station for questioning.

“We have registered first investigation report under 15/2021 and investigation is going on. We have recorded victim’s statement as well and summoned Mushtaq and his parents for questing,” said Waseem Shah, SHO Mattan.


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