Police have arrested a man for allegedly abducting and raping his estranged wife in Bhavnagar after they found her at Hadambtala village in Botad on August 2. The woman’s father-in-law has also been arrested. “We have booked a case under section 376 (B) and other provisions of the IPC,” said T S Rizvi, Investigation Officer at Vallabhipur police station in Bhavnagar.
Section 376 (B) of the IPC is related to sexual intercourse with wife by husband during separation and it entails punishment of 2 to 7 years in jail. Officials at the state crime records bureau said that the provision has been rarely used. (See box)
The accused, who is in the Indian Army, married the woman three years ago. It was an arranged marriage.
“Within three months of our marriage, he started hitting me. At first, he used hands to hit me, but then he started using sticks and then whatever he could find. I would often run to my parents’ home with a black eye or a broken hand. I tried to make the marriage work for a year, but then I could not,” said the woman who had filed a case of harassment against her husband in 2016. Since then she has been living with her parents.
“On July 28, when I got down from the bus and was walking towards my office, a Wagon R came near me. My husband jumped out of the car and pulled me inside. Before I could realise what had happened, he hit me with a helmet and gagged me with a cloth. My father-in-law was driving the car. I tried to reach for my phone but could not manage,” she told The Indian Express.
“First my husband and father-in-law took me to a hut in a field. My father-in-law tied me up and went out. My husband then removed my clothes and forced himself on me twice. After that he used sticks to beat me up,” she said. According to her, she was blindfolded and taken to a flat where her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law were present. “They tied me up. My husband would keep me naked and force himself on me whenever he felt like. He took nude pictures of me and said that he would put it on the Internet if I complained to the police… I would scream in pain as he used sticks to beat me every time after raping me. My in-laws would listen to my screams and do nothing. They had told my husband to ensure that he impregnates me so that I can’t seek divorce,” she said.
According to the woman’s brother, one of her colleagues who had seen her being dragged into a car informed them about the abduction. “We told the police immediately, they told us to wait till evening. When my sister did not return home that night, we filed a complaint and an FIR was filed,” he added. Police found the woman from Hadambtala village in Botad on August 2.
“We suspected the in-laws. We got information that her father-in-law was spotted at Hadambtala village and we decided to chase him. He led us to the house where she was kept,” said Rizvi. “She was rushed to a hospital as she was bleeding in her private parts and was unable to walk,” he added. The husband and father-in-law were sent to judicial custody on Friday after they were questioned by the police for a week.