Amid a spate of suicides by young women over dowry-related oppression in the previous month in Kerala, another horrific incident of torture has come to light in Kochi. A 31-year-old woman has accused her husband and in-laws of beating her black and blue, denying her food for days and crushing her father’s ribs over her denial to sell her wedding gold to buy an apartment. She has further alleged that the police had taken no action despite her filing a complaint.
A fresh complaint was filed to the Kochi Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) on Thursday after the victim revealed her ordeal to the media and her family formed an action council demanding justice, The News Minute reported.
On one of the brutal nights, the victim said that she was denied food and when she dialed up the cops, she was threatened with consequences. Her husband Jipson, a 31-year-old techie working at a company in Thiruvananthapuram, called the Assistant Vicar of St Joseph Church at Thevara, Fr Nibin Kuriakose to manipulate her. “And the priest used to tell me that I cannot go back to my own home as I will be a ‘burden for my family’ and that I have to continue living with Jipson, etc.,” she said.
Speaking to the media, she said, “Jipson thrashed me brutally at nights covering my mouth. I could not even cry out aloud. They made me starve without giving food as I stood against selling the gold from my marriage. When my father questioned about the harassments, they (in-laws) attacked him breaking his leg and rib bone.”
The torture at her in-laws house for the past three months as the police sat on her complaint without taking action.
The victim, a teacher by profession, got married Jipson this April. Soon after her marriage, the harassment and misbehavior began. It initially started with verbal abuses that eventually reached brutal torture, she said. “They were asking for more dowry and gold. My family had given me 50 sovereigns of gold at the time of my wedding and half of my family’s wealth. My in-laws want me to sell the gold for buying apartment,” she said.
“Three days into the marriage, Jipson and his mother started pressing me to ask for money from my family. He also wanted to sell my gold to buy an apartment. I kept saying no, and he started threatening me. He said he will lock me up in the room. Later on, he started beating me black and blue. At night he closed my mouth and thrashed me in the abdomen and back. I could not even cry,” the victim was quoted by TNM.
She was denied food by the family for a whole day two weeks ago. “At night, I went and took some food to eat. For that, Jipson and the family pushed me out of the house at midnight. That day also, when I was about to call the police, Jipson called Fr Nibin. My father also came and after he requested, Jipson let me into the house at night and left me at my house the next day,” she said.
Last Saturday, when her father met Jipson at the latter’s house regarding the atrocities meted out to his daughter, he was attacked and left with grave injuries. “I was pushed to the ground. It was an uneven surface, and my head got injured. Then his father stamped on my leg. I remember hearing a sound, but lost consciousness. I could feel them beating my chest and face,” her father said.
“When I filed a complaint, they told me they will give counselling to me and Jipson. His relative is a police officer and we think that is the reason they did not take any action,” she alleged.
“He was married earlier. That woman left him due to similar torture, but we did not know that. He will possibly get married again. I want no one else to suffer what I went through,” she added, saying that she will move the court for legal separation.
In the wake of outrageous incidents of violence against women in the state, a new Kerala government order has asked all state government employees to give an affidavit to their departmental heads that they have neither taken or given dowry.
The new order, issued by the Woman and Child Welfare Department, directs all the heads to ensure that they submit a report to this effect to the department every six months.
Following the spate of suicides last month by young women after being harassed for dowry, the Kerala government appointed a Chief Dowry Prohibition officer and the new order was handed out to District Collectors, Women and Child development officers and Women Protection officers.
Incidentally, soon after the various reports of suicides came out last month, a note by the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in 2014, had turned viral.
In the Facebook note, he says the rules about dowry are quite clear – that it first was mentioned in the 1961 Kerala Government Servants Contract Rules and through an amendment in 1976, it was made more clear, holding that government servants are banned from giving or taking dowry.