The body of an Oshiwara resident, Bilkis Yakub Patel (30), was found at Bharuch in Gujarat on Wednesday, three days after she went missing.
A Bharuch police officer on Thursday said Patel was strangled, but that they did not have a suspect yet.
Patel, who used to work with a tailoring unit, had gone missing on Sunday from the Jogeshwari market, where she was on a shopping trip with her sister Rashida.
Her family filed a missing person complaint at the Oshiwara police station, which on Wednesday night received a communication from the police in Bharuch about the discovery of the body.
Officials at the Oshiwara police station said Patel, a spinster who lived with her family in Jogeshwari (West), had got separated from Rashida at the market.
“After a while, when the sister began looking for Bilkis, she could not be traced,” said Police Inspector Dattatray Sankhe. “A worried Rashida tried to call Bilkis on her cell phone but it was switched off. In the evening, the family approached the Oshiwara police station.”
The officer said the Bharuch police found Patel’s body at a village called Kirwada in Amoda.
“We do not know the cause of death or any other details over here, except for the fact that the police over there had registered a case of accidental death,” Sankhe said. “The case shall be investigated by Bharuch police, but the body shall be sent here for burial.”
Though an accidental death case was first registered as Sankhe said, the Bharuch police changed it to murder after an autopsy.
“There were many injury marks on Bilkis’ body, some of them on her neck, suggesting she was strangulated,” said Parag Kapadia, a Bharuch police officer.
“At first we registered an accidental death case as the victim’s body was found in the Narmada Canal, but later we registered a case of murder after the post-mortem report from the Surat Civil Hospital arrived.”
Senior Police Inspector K Sonone of the Oshiwara police station said they had received a confirmation from the victim’s relatives that the body was that of Patel’s.
Patel’s family, which lives in a slum in Jogeshwari, was in Gujarat to claim her body and was unavailable for comment.