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On October 25 last year, Dilshada Begum was supposed to pay a visit to the Kupwara district jail.

Her husband, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, accused in a drug trafficking case, had been at the prison since April 2021.

“He called me from a jail phone and asked me to visit the next day,” said Begum, who lives in Prangroo village of Mawer Handwara in North Kashmir. Bhat asked his wife to bring their children and his mother along. “He also said I should cook some mutton for him.”

Begum could not make it to the prison that day, as her mother-in-law fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital. “I thought I would meet him the next day,” she said.

By evening, Begum got several calls from the local police as well as the village head about an injury her husband had sustained in jail.

“Then our DDC [district level panchayat leader] called me,” said Begum. “He asked me to go to Kupwara hospital and check on my husband.”

When she reached the hospital, she found that her husband was dead.

According to jail authorities, 37-year-old Bhat died after “falling from a sub-jail building” in the prison.

Begum does not buy this version. She alleges her husband was murdered.

“The officials told me he suffered a heart attack while he was climbing the stairs to the top floor. And that he fell down and died,” she said. “Tell me, if a person falls down from such a height, would he not have bruises on the body or face?”

Instead, Begum said, her husband had a deep wound on his head. “It looked as if some iron-like object had been inserted in his head,” Begum said. “It was soaked in blood even after his death.”

Shahbaz Hussain, the superintendent of Kupwara district jail, told Scroll that Bhat died in an accident: “He fell down from the stairs in the jail and suffered an injury when his head hit the marble floor.”

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here