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Woman’s cremation halted mid-way after death found unnatural

Police detained the woman’s husband, Kanhaiya Kumar, and three of his friends for questioning as they had chosen not to report the death and instead allegedly tried to hurriedly cremate her.

delhi Updated: Nov 28, 2017 00:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
creamtion,crime,Narela
Police said the body had not been damaged by the time they arrived at the crematorium and retrieved the body. (Jagtinder Singh Grewal /HT FILE )

The cremation of a 23-year-old woman in outer Delhi’s Narela was halted mid-way on Monday morning after it emerged that she had not died a natural death, police said.

Ligature marks on the woman’s neck confirmed the unnatural death, said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson, adding that prima facie it appeared to be a suicide.

Police detained the woman’s husband, Kanhaiya Kumar, and three of his friends for questioning as they had chosen not to report the death and instead allegedly tried to hurriedly cremate her.

“The man has been claiming that he did not deem it necessary to inform the police about a suicide. His claims and the circumstances of his wife’s death are being verified,” said Pathak.

The woman has been identified as Neelam, a native of Sultanpur. “She had a love marriage with Kumar around two years ago, much against the wishes of her family. Kumar worked as a driver at a factory,” said Pathak. The couple have a one-year-old son, he added.

Neighbours have told police that they heard the couple quarrelling loudly on Sunday night. On Monday morning, Kumar and three of his friends keep Neelam’s body outside their house in Narela.

“I was out of my home to collect water. I saw them bring the body out on their shoulders. But when I returned with the water seconds later, they were gone. That aroused my suspicion,” said a neighbour who did not wish to be identified.

The neighbour alerted police, and rushed to the nearest crematorium. At the crematorium, meanwhile, Neelam’s body had been placed under logs of woods and set on fire.

“The woman’s husband said he was in a hurry to cremate her. They (the husband and his friends) said they had some work. The wooden logs had already been set on fire by the time a man rushed to the crematorium and warned me that the death was suspicious. I immediately doused the flames,” said Salik Ram, an employee at the crematorium.

Police said the body had not been damaged by the time they arrived at the crematorium and retrieved the body. Having confirmed the injury mark on the woman’s body, they sent it for postmortem even as they detained her husband and the others.

“The husband has said that his wife was frustrated that he did not spend much time at home because of his job as a driver. He has said that was the trigger behind her suicide. But he had not informed his wife’s parents about her death,” said Pathak.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 00:05 IST