This is a representational image of a funeral pyre at the Manikarnika ghat in the old quarters of Varanasi, India, June 1, 2018. Getty Images/Chandan Khanna

A woman believed to be dead appeared in front of police Thursday after her family conducted her funeral in the northern Indian city of Patiala in Punjab. Police were investigating the case as a homicide after the body of a woman was found on the Patiala-Sangrur southern bypass in the city.

A Patiala-based family identified the body as of their daughter, Naina Rani, who they said had eloped, local newspaper the Hindustan Times reported. The family accused her lover of killing her. Police said the victim was strangulated as there were marks on her neck. She was also attacked with sharp-edged weapons.

After the family identified the woman, police handed over the body for them to perform her last rites.

To everyone's surprise, Naina Rani returned with a male friend on Thursday. Police said the incident appears to be a case of mistaken identity.

“When the cops questioned Naina’s parents in Patiala, they claimed that since the face of the dead woman was mutilated, they identified the body on the basis of her bangles and other jewellery. Even Naina’s husband was accompanying them at that time,” police representative Jaswinder Singh Tiwana told local daily Hindustan Times.

He added the police had a written record of all the proceedings, but it appears to be a case of mistaken identity.

“We will now identify the dead woman from her DNA and fingerprint samples. We had gathered samples of her hair and teeth during autopsy,” Tiwana said.

He added: “We have circulated the dead body’s photograph with details of identification marks to all police stations in the state so that she can be identified. Moreover, we are gathering data about the women who had gone missing in the state recently."

“It appears that the crime was committed at some other place and the body was dumped here around two days ago,” another police officer said, adding that they did not recover any identity proof or mobile phone of the victim.

In another incident that took place in the southern Indian state of Kerala in November, a 48-year-old man, who was presumed dead and buried, returned to his family. The man — identified only as Saji — was missing and when his family members went to report about his disappearance to police, authorities told them they had found a dead body.

“The face was disfigured. It had a surgery mark and implant in the leg like Saji who had also undergone an operation in the leg after an accident. The footwear found near the body and the clothes were similar to the one used by him," Saji's brother Jinesh said.