Updated: December 15, 2017 5:27:08 pm
Mahadev Kumar was seven when his eldest brother Satish Das married Ruby Devi in 2009. The three brothers, of whom Mahadev was the youngest, had lost their mother a few years ago and Ruby started taking care of Mahadev after her marriage. Little did they know that a mishap would turn their world upside down.
In 2013, Satish, who worked as a labourer, died of electrocution and left Ruby behind with a three-year-old daughter and a year-old son. Mahadev’s other brother Manish Das had married by then. A month ago, Mahadev’s father allegedly started pressuring him to marry Ruby, 10 years elder to him. On the night of December 11, the day Mahadev and Ruby married, the 15-year-old was found hanging dead. According to a police complaint lodged by Manish, Mahadev did not want to marry so early and hanged himself after his father and Ruby’s mother forced him into the marriage. The two have been booked under Prevention of Child Marriage Act and for abetment to suicide and were arrested.
Ruby is now at her father-in-law’s ancestral home at Vinobanagar village, 20 km from Gaya town.
“After my husband’s (Satish) death, my parents wanted to take me to our home at Vishwanathpur village in Aanti, but my father-in-law Chandeshwar Das said ‘ghar ki ijjat ghar me hi rahegi (honour of the home will stay there)’ and assured me of marriage with Mahadev once he grew up. I was not comfortable because of the age difference and the fact that Mahadev was like a child to me. But I had to agree as the marriage would restore my position in the household,” said Ruby.
Ruby said Mahadev refused to marry her when his father approached him last month. “While Mahadev said he wanted to study more and marry me later, I could not have waited for him to turn 21. There would have been no point in marrying him when I was past my prime,” said Ruby.
She added that her father-in-law was not willing to give her a share in his property unless she agreed to marry Mahadev. “That way, Mahadev and I would have been entitled to two-thirds share of the family’s two homes,” she said. Ruby also accused her mother Mantur Devi of pressuring her.
She said the person who roped in Satish for the work during which he was electrocuted had paid Rs 80,000 as compensation, and her father-in-law had said he would give her Rs 53,000 from the amount only if she married Mahadev.
The family has houses at Vinobanagar and Ramna village. The Scheduled Caste family owns no land and the brothers’ income came from working as daily wage labourers and sharecropping. Mahadev, a Class IX student at a government school, would also work in the fields.
Narrating the events of the day of her marriage with Mahadev, Ruby said: “We exchanged garlands around 6 pm on December 11. Mahadev reached home before me. When I returned around 8.30 pm, I saw Mahadev talking to my sister-in-law Kiran Devi. Mahadev did not speak to me and I went to sleep in my room with the children. A commotion at midnight woke me up and I learnt that Mahadev hanged himself.”
Ruby alleged that her sister-in-law wanted Mahadev to marry her sister. “Police should talk to Kiran and her relatives to know if there was any foul play.”
Paraiya police station in-charge Akhilesh Singh said: “Prima facie investigation suggests suicide. The boy did not want to marry now. Ruby has been changing her statements. We are waiting for the postmortem report.”
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