On Thursday afternoon, Malla Puffi, an 85-year-old woman living in Srinagar’s Lal Bazaar, was reciting the Quran – the holy book of Muslims – when she was allegedly stabbed to death by a 21-year-old helper, the police said.
As per the officials, the accused in the killing of Puffi has been identified as Omprakash Sah, son of Gopal Sah, a resident of village Tatuli Gormadhn of Uttarakhand state. Puffi’s son told The Kashmir Walla that helper “had been at the house for a week”.
Puffi was staying with her elder son Rafiq Ahmad on the first floor of the house, while her other son lived on the ground floor. Before she was attacked, Ahmad said, “my brother had asked her to come downstairs but she said she would first give lunch to the helper.”
Ahmad said that her wife, who also lived with Puffi, had gone to hospital. Puffi was alone at home and around 2:30 PM the helper had come for lunch.
“The helper told her that he was feeling hungry and asked her for food,” Ahmad said. “She provided him food.” Later, when she didn’t come down, Ahmad’s niece went to check on her to find the room was locked from outside.
“She opened the door to find her injured in a pool of blood,” Ahmad recalled the incident. “The helper had left the house in the meantime.”
The helper was provided by Ishfaq Security and Placement Services, as per Khazir Mohamad Kotruu, one of the relatives of Rafiq Ahmad.
“They gave us two people, Omprakash and the other one is at our house. I think that recruiting and placement agencies do not scrutinise them properly. They should always provide placement to locals,” Mohammad said.
He added: “She was a pious lady and would always remain busy in prayers. At the time the incident had taken place she was reciting the Quran as blood stains are still on the Quran.”
The accused was arrested six hours after allegedly committing the crime, from Udhampur area, nearly 200 kilometers away from Srinagar.
“After the incident, police immediately moved forward and identified a suspect vehicle the attacker was traveling in,” claimed Ahmad. “Then police asked the driver of the vehicle to capture a photo of the helper that was sent to the police for identification.”
Accused Om Prakash Sah has been brought by police to Lal Bazar police station in Srinagar where he is being investigated.
“We have been questioning men from the Agency and investigation is underway,” Sub Divisional Police Officer Zadibal had told a local news agency, Kashmir News Trust.
According to the news agency, the officer said: “It is very important to get character and record of any domestic-help or a tenant verified from the local police station before you avail his or her service or allow him or her to occupy your house.”
Earlier, in March 2020, Jammu and Kashmir police had solved the murder case of a 65-year-old Srinagar-based lawyer Reyaz Ahmad Buchh and arrested two persons, including his domestic help from Madhya Pradesh. Buchh was found dead at his residence in Greater Kailash in Delhi on 24 February 2020.