Dowry harassment, casteist remarks drove Dalit woman to death

There were separate utensils for her to have food and water and after she had a miscarriage, her husband and in-laws neglected her even more and mentally harassed her so that she would agree to a divorce, the family alleged.

Kochi: Relatives of a young Dalit woman who died by suicide early last month in her matrimonial home in Ernakulam district of Kerala have alleged that she took the extreme step due to dowry-related harassment and casteist remarks made against her by her husband and in-laws.

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The victim’s relatives have alleged police apathy and said despite several complaints and follow-ups with the Ernakulam Central police station, where the case was registered, no steps have been taken to arrest the husband till date.

The allegations have been denied by the police with a senior officer of Kochi City police saying that the accused husband has not been arrested as he has moved an anticipatory bail plea which is pending in the court.

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The officer further said that the ACP (assistant commissioner of police) of Ernakulam Central was now investigating into the case and all the applicable provisions under the IPC, Dowry Prohibition Act and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act have been added.

He said the ACP has been asked to speak to the family of the victim, take note of their allegations and to take steps in accordance with the law.

He further said the allegations of the family were regarding steps taken at the police station-level, but now the investigation was in good hands as it was being headed by the ACP.

The family members, speaking to a TV channel, had said that the victim was discriminated against from the very first day of her entering the matrimonial home, despite it being a love marriage.

She got married on April 26, 2020 and on June 1, 2022 she ended her life, they said.

There were separate utensils for her to have food and water and after she had a miscarriage, her husband and in-laws neglected her even more and mentally harassed her so that she would agree to a divorce, the family alleged.

They claimed that the victim was once beaten up by her husband right in front of them in her maternal home.

They further claimed that they have sent complaints to the Kochi Police Commissioner as well as the State SC/ST Commission but to no avail.

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