Marriage doesn’t stop caste virus 003MH2008, kills her

28Mar08

A 21-year old Buddhist girl, who was married to a Bengali, committed suicide on Saturday following a tiff with her in-laws. The girl’s parents alleged that she was ill-treated and taunted over her Dalit background by the husband and his family. The husband, Akshay Bhattacharya (25),a call centre employee in Andheri, and his family have been booked by the Vakola police for abetment of suicide, mental and physical harassment and conspiracy.

The police said they were making efforts to arrest members of the Bhattacharya family, but they were untraceable. Before taking the extreme step, Varsha Bhattacharya (21) called her cousin in Nerul saying she could no longer take the insults the in-laws had been hurling at her as well as her family. “Varsha told me that she had taken a ‘tough and final’ decision regarding the marriage as she could not tolerate the mental torture inflicted on her day in and day out,” said Vinayak Patil, the cousin. “She asked me to take care of her mother. After that, she cut the call and switched off her mobile,” he recounted.

Alarmed by the phone call, Varsha’s family rushed to Borivli, where the Bhattacharya family stays. Meanwhile, Varsha was dropped at her father’s residence in Vakola, by an unknown woman, in an unconscious state. She was declared dead at Durga Nursing Home around 4 am. The post-mortem showed a fracture in the rib. “We are investigating the case, as there are a lot of angles to it,” said sub-inspector Deepak Gurjar. “We are also trying to trace the woman who dropped the victim home,” he added. Police officers said once concrete evidence was established, they could also book the Bhattacharya family under the Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “Though clear evidence is still awaited, it looks like a case of excess mental torture, which drove the girl to suicide,” an officer said. Varsha’s parents alleged that the girl’s in-laws had been harassing and taunting her over her caste and family ever since she got married in November 2007. Her husband, Akshay, too started doing so after a couple of months.

The couple had a love marriage, much against their families’ wishes. Varsha’s parents said their caste was always an issue with the Bhattacharyas, who were Brahmins. The in-laws insisted that Varsha snap all ties with her parents. “Her husband and in-laws would hardly let her interact with us. She was taunted again and again over her caste and was asked to be grateful to them as they had ‘pulled her up the social ladder’,” said Babasaheb Sonawane, Varsha’s father. The girl’s parents said the situation worsened when her husband started checking the call log on her mobile phone every night. “He would repeatedly call her even during office hours and fume with anger if she didn’t answer the calls,” said Sonawane. “Once he even banged my daughter’s head against the wall only because she hadn’t wished his mother before going to sleep.”

Varsha and Akshay started dating each other two years ago. They used to work at a call centre in Andheri. A relative said, “The boy’s family just refused to mingle with us at that time (the marriage).” The Sonawane family had hosted a party for relatives and friends two days before the marriage, but the Bhattacharyas had refused to participate in it. The Bhattacharyas refused to speak when contacted over phone. “We are in a state of shock,” said an unknown relative.

Source: TOI



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