A DAY after a Dalit teen, who had “forgiven” her rapist and married him earlier this year, was found dead, her mother on Wednesday blamed her husband and in-laws. She claimed the husband and his family members tortured her, wanted the marriage annulled, and eventually led her to commit suicide.
She was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her in-laws’ house in Jagadhari, a small town in Haryana’s Yamunanagar district. The victim’s family lives in the same locality. The teen’s mother, Sarla, who has pressed dowry charges against the husband, Anuj, and his family, said after he was acquitted of rape charges on September 22 Anuj’s family started demanding a divorce because they wanted to get him married again — as that would fetch them a dowry.
“They even offered to pay alimony, but we refused,” Sarla told The Indian Express on Wednesday. “They began torturing her and denied her food and water. They didn’t let her touch anything in the house since we are from the Balmiki (Dalit) community.” Arrested on charges of abetment of suicide and dowry harassment, Anuj, 22, and his parents — Veena and Raj Kishore — were today produced in court and sent to judicial custody.
“I want justice for my daughter — the accused must be punished severely. Her only mistake was that she fell in love, and she paid for it with her life,” Sarla said. According to Sarla, her daughter, who turned 18 this April, fell in love with Anuj sometime early last year.
After her family learnt about it, they approached Anuj’s parents and wanted the duo to get married once she turned major, since no one would have married her as news of their affair had spread.
But belonging to upper caste Rajputs, Anuj’s family refused, Sarla alleged. Her family complained that the teen was raped. Based on their complaint, Anuj was arrested on charges of rape last October.
Earlier this year, Sarla said, Anuj’s parents sought pardon for their son and offered to get the two married.
“But the whole neighbourhood had learnt about the episode (by then); no one would have married my daughter. So we agreed, even though I was apprehensive whether this would ever work out,” she said. “In April, after she turned 18, Anuj was granted bail and they got married.”
She said a common acquaintance in the locality stood guarantee for Anuj and his family members. “But they soon began demanding dowry; they would claim that Anuj would have got a handsome dowry had he married an upper caste woman.” “My daughter was beaten and tortured regularly. We filed police complaints but nothing happened…they tortured my daughter and forced her to take this extreme step (suicide),” she said.
Sarla works as a sanitation worker and her husband drives an autorickshaw in the town. The couple has two more children. Sub Inspector Vijay Walia, who is investigating the case, said a case has been registered under Section 304B (dowry death).