A 19-year-old woman, who was regularly subjected to physical and emotional abuse by her husband and in-laws, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Tilottama-5 in Rupandehi.
The body of Seema Jha, a resident of Ittabhatta, Butwal -11, was found by the stream near Devisthan temple, which is located about six kilometres away from her house, on Saturday morning.
Police said there were bruises on Seema’s face and hands, raising suspicions that her in-laws might have orchestrated her murder. The neighbours have in their statement to the police said Seema had been a victim of constant dowry-related harassment and violence since long.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Dilip Kumar Ghimire said that apart from marks and bruises all over her body, her head was injured and blood had oozed out profusely along with froth from her nose and mouth.
Police had learnt about the identity of the victim when some people from Seema’s neighbourhood recognised the body as hers at the Lumbini Zonal Hospital.
“Seema’s death has raised suspicions as the stream is not big enough to sweep away anyone,” said DSP Ghimire, adding that they have focussed their investigations on how Seema’s body reached the place where it was found in the first place.
Police have sent the body to the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in the Capital for a “proper autopsy”. Sita Chettri, who lives in the same locality as the victim, said that Seema’s husband Chintu Sah along with her in-laws used to physically and emotionally harass and abuse her by accusing her of not bringing enough dowry.
Kaushal Kishor Jha, the victim’s father, said that whenever he used to meet his daughter she used to weep and complain about the atrocities meted out to her by her own husband and in-laws. He said Seema had called him just four days ago to complain about the continuous harassment and torture she was forced to endure over dowry-related demands of her in-laws.
Ignorant about his daughter’s death even till Sunday, Kaushal Kishor Jha had reached Butwal only on Sunday evening after his daughter’s mother-in-law Purnima and sister-in-law Rinku had called him up to tell him that Seema had eloped with two men.
Meanwhile, after learning about Seema’s death, the victim’s maternal family filed a police complaint alleging that Seema was deliberately murdered by her husband and in-laws.
In their defence, victim’s in-laws claimed that Seema had left the house on Friday evening following a spat with Rinku due to which they had not bothered to file a missing person complaint.
Originally from Sarlahi, Chintu Sah’s family had demanded Rs 10 Lakh in cash and a motorcycle from Seema’s family during their marriage three years ago but then had settled for Rs 170,000 and some necessary items.