Kerala model Sahana found dead on 21st birthday, family alleges murder by husband

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Sahana’s husband Sajjad claimed that she died by suicide, but her family alleged that he would regularly harass her over money and other issues.

Sahana, a young model and small-time actor from Kerala’s Kozhikode, celebrated her 21st birthday on Thursday, May 12. But little did her family know that the day would end in tragedy. Later that night, at around 1 am, her family who live in Kasargod district received a call that Sahana had been found dead. On May 13, the police took her husband Sajjad into custody after Sahana’s family alleged that she was murdered.

“My daughter would never die by suicide, she was murdered. She used to cry all the time saying they were torturing her. He used to get drunk and create trouble. His parents and sister were also torturing her, then I suggested that they move to a separate house. Even after that my daughter told me that he was behaving badly with her and wanted money. The 25 sovereigns of gold that we gave had been used. She had wanted to meet us on her birthday,” Sahana’s mother told the media. She also alleged that Sajjad would not let Sahana see her family or invite them to the house, according to Mathrubhumi.

Sahana, a native of Cheruvathur in Kasargod district, has acted in several jewellery ads and married Sajjad around one and half years ago. Sajjad, who was previously employed in Qatar, started living with Sahana in his house in Kozhikode. When Sahana told her family that her in-laws and sister-in-law were torturing her along with Sajjad, her mother suggested that the couple move out. A few weeks ago they shifted to a rented house in Kozhikode city’s Parambil Bazar.

“She acted in a Tamil venture and received some money for it recently. The couple seem to have had arguments over this. Yesterday was her birthday, but he came back late. The couple had another argument then. According to the husband, he found her dead inside the bathroom after that,” ACP K Sudarshan told TNM. He further said that the police found a plastic rope in the bathroom. “But we don’t know if that is enough to die by suicude. We are investigating,” the police official said, adding that it is not yet certain whether this was a case of suicide.

Sahana and Sajjad’s neighbour, who is also the owner of the house they were staying in, was the first to notice that something was amiss. The house owner told Media One that Sajjad shouted for help saying Sahana was not responding. “When I went there, she was lying on his lap. He told us that she did not respond. I suggested calling the police. Police arrived and it was in their jeep that she was rushed to the medical college.”

Sahana’s brother also believes foul play in the circumstances of her death. Speaking to the media, he said that the police first suspected suicide based only on Sajjad’s word. “Her body was on his lap when they came in. It is his claim that she died by suicide, why should we believe this?” he questioned.  

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If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department’s suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre – 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584

Karnataka

Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222

Kerala

Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana

State government’s suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.   

24×7 Helpline: 9820466726

Click here for working helplines across India.

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