Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Cooch Behar, June 19: This Mumtaz, too, has died young but she won’t be getting a memorial from husband Shah Jahan.

All he had for her this morning was a knife in the throat.

Shah Jahan Ali, in his late forties, has been arrested on the charge of murdering his wife after he found her drinking with two young men at home late last night.

Neighbours at Dinhata’s Village I, who often joked about the couple’s names, said Shah Jahan suspected the comely, 30-year-old Mumtaz of cheating on him.

The murdered woman had one thing in common, though, with the Mughal queen remembered with the world’s most famous monument to love. Neither was born Mumtaz, both being given that name by their doting husbands.

Before her marriage to Shah Jahan six years ago, Dinhata’s Mumtaz was a Hindu named Khaimala Roy. About 12 years ago, she got married to her first husband, a Hindu. Four years later she bore him a daughter. The following year, they divorced and she returned to her parents’ home in Village I.

That’s when she met Shah Jahan of village Navina in Geetaldaha, a middleman who “got things done” for people. When she converted to marry him, Shah Jahan decided her name would be Mumtaz.

The already married man would spent some five days a week with Mumtaz at Village I and the remaining two days with his first wife in Navina.

“I knew Mumtaz was a woman of loose morals. Still, I fell in love with her. I had told her there will be no affairs, but she didn’t listen,” Shah Jahan is believed to have told the police.

Yesterday, the youths had fled at the sight of him and the couple had then quarrelled through the night. The police said that in the early hours, Shah Jahan slit Mumtaz’s throat.

Mumtaz’s mother Nirbala Roy said she was astonished around 4-4.30 am to see her son-in-law steal out of home with his bicycle. “I became suspicious and tried to stop him. But he pushed me and fled. I entered my daughter’s room and saw her blood-splattered body.”

After Mumtaz’s elder brother Ranjit Roy lodged a case, the police arrested the accused at his home in Navina.

Shah Jahan punched a sub-inspector and tried to flee. After the police caught him, the villagers gheraoed the force and tried to free him.

The body has been sent for post-mortem. Shah Jahan is being questioned, district police chief Anil Kumar said.

Empress Mumtaz, whose real name was Arjumand Banu, too, was Shah Jahan’s second wife and the favourite among the nine he ultimately married. They lived in wedded bliss for 19 years before the 38-year-old Mumtaz, while delivering her 14th child, died in 1631.