She expected us to save her, says eyewitness in Delhi market murder case
Life was slowly ebbing away from 21-year-old Preeti Mathur’s face when Giri Lal found her bleeding on the road in a Bhogal market on Friday evening.
“It is a face I will never forget. She looked very afraid, but I could also see hope in her eyes. She expected us to save her and kept shouting for help,” said Lal, 53, who had a shop in the market.
By the time Preeti, who had been stabbed eight times, was brought to AIIMS Trauma Centre, around 7.5 kilometer away, she had died.
Police had identified the victim by her alias, Kirti, and on Saturday said she was attacked by 25-year-old Mohammad Munsair, who was caught by the public after the attack and handed over to the police.
“The man and the woman lived in the same neighbourhood of Sarai Kale Khan and were friends for over a year. Recently, their friendship soured and the woman distanced herself from Munasir. Angry, he killed her,” said Chinmoy Biswal, deputy commissioner of police (south-east), based on his interaction with Munsair who is hospitalised. “There was no (case of) stalking and the police were never approached with a complaint of harassment (against Munasir).”
Family of the victim, however, had a different story to tell.
“We aren’t aware of any relationship between the two. Munasir had been living near our home since the past few weeks. A fortnight ago, Preeti found him drunk outside our house and asked him to leave. We also complained to Munasir’s landowner, after which he was forced to vacate his residence,” said Nirdosh, Preeti’s brother who is an auto driver.
Preeti lived with her four brothers, while their parents live in Tughlaqabad. She worked as a babysitter and domestic help in a house in Bhogal. “We were looking forward to celebrating Rakshabandhan with her next month,” said Nirdosh.
Munasir was unemployed, but had earlier worked at a Delhi hospital as a contract sweeper.
She had left her workplace for home at around 6.30 pm when she was attacked in the market, a place populated with jewellery showrooms and located just 100 metres from the Mathura Road.
“I saw the woman running towards the footpath. She was shouting, ‘bachao, bachao (help, help). She hit the footpath and fell a few feet away. I thought she was involved in a road accident until I saw a man with a knife attacking her,” said Lal. “He stab her twice or thrice, then warned the public before stabbing her again... He kept yelling that the woman had betrayed him and ruined his life.”
Someone from the crowd of over two dozen that had gathered at the scene threw a wooden basket to the woman.
“She try to use the basket as a shield, but the man stabbed her through that,” said Lal.
It was at that point that Lal decided to act. “I picked up a wiper from outside a shop and attacked him. It gave an opportunity to overpower him and restrain his hand that had the knife. But his last stab was a deep one to the woman’s neck,” said Lal, who suffered a minor knife injury on his hand in the process.
By then the public jumped in to overpower Munasir.
A video recorded on a mobile phone showed people kicking, punching and hitting Munasir with sticks even as some others loaded the injured woman into an autorickshaw to take her to hospital.
The police said that they have deployed officers in plainclothes in Sarai Kale Khan and that the situation was normal.