A woman’s body with head and palms chopped off, dumped in a small village in Bulandshahr on Friday, has the local police on its toes and the village on edge. On Saturday, police recovered the severed head in Anoopshahr, almost 50 km away.
It was around 6 am in Utrawali village on Friday when people passing by a farm between a hospital and a school saw the body of the woman in a white top and light brown pants. Word travelled fast, and panic followed.
Rajkali, the farm’s owner, said: “I was in the village when I got to know that a body had been found in my farm. A huge crowd had gathered when I saw a glimpse; I have never seen anything like this before. No one knows who she was but it seems she is not from our village. It is possible that whoever did it, chose the time of the night since this stretch is completely deserted.”
Her farm is situated about a kilometre from the village. The body was dumped merely a few metres from the road that links to the Bulandshahr highway.
According to the police, prima facie, the post-mortem suggests the woman was killed three-four hours before being dumped.
A day later, police recovered the head. A medical examination confirmed the finding. The head, police said, had black hair with some whites, and an earring. “This is a rarest of rare case. We are dealing with someone who had a lot of hatred for the victim. It appears the person kept the head with him for a day. For us, the case will be 50% worked out if she is identified,” said Senior Superintendent of Police, Bulandshahr, N Kolanchi.
“The post-mortem report has ruled out any form of sexual violence since there were no injuries on the private parts. There appears to be no signs of struggle since there are no injury marks on the skin. The only visible wounds are on the hands and neck.”
Police claim the woman was about 5 feet 6 inches tall and fair. There are stitches on the left thigh, seemingly from a previous injury.
Helpline numbers have been sent out on WhatsApp and across social media as police continue to hunt in the dark. Missing persons complaints in nearby regions are being checked for a matching description. Three such calls were looked into since Friday but they were dead ends, police said.
“It is also possible that the initial disappearance of the woman was not reported, like it happens in the case of honour killings. At this point we cannot confirm this, ” added Kolanchi.
Panic meanwhile has given way to fear in the village. “There is a small girls’ school right next to the field where the body was found. We are scared of sending our children to school. We don’t even know who she is… we’re just scared it could happen to anyone,” said Rajendra, a resident.
With photos being circulated on WhatsApp, the barbarity of the crime has also become a talking point. “It is so brutal. And the head being found someplace else; we have never heard of such an incident. People are bound to be afraid. Yes, there is crime in this region. But this seems to be of a different nature,” said Jai Singh, another resident.