On June 21-22, Kerela was shocked when three suicides were committed by young women within 48 hours in the state with the highest female literacy (95.2%) in the country.
The young women left notes behind that claimed they were forced to take this deadly step because of ‘dowry harassment’.
A debate has been triggered in Kerela by the suicides about the concerning gender insensitivity prevalent in the state.
22-year-old Vismaya V. Nair was found hanging at her husband’s home in Sasthamkotta in Kollam district on
June 21 night. She was an Ayurveda BAMS student. She texted her relatives on WhatsApp before her death about the alleged torture by her husband Kiran. He is a motor vehicle inspector in the transport department. Last May, the couple tied the knot. Her father Thrivikraman is a local the Communist Party of India leader. As Dowry, he had gifted the groom a new car worth Rs 10 lakh, 1.25 acres of land, and 100 sovereigns gold.
After the bride’s family lodged a complaint with the police, Kiran got arrested on 24 June. Vismaya died due to hanging. However, it’s still not confirmed whether it was a case of suicide or murder, according to the post-mortem report. The probe is being conducted by a high-level police team headed by Inspector General Harshita Attalluri.
Archana, another 24-year-old died just 24 hours later. She was allegedly set ablaze by her husband in Vizhinjam. This took place in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The couple got married in 2020 and the girl’s family alleged dowry-related torture by the husband.
Then again on June 22, Suchithra Vishnu, a 19-year-old was found hanging at her in-laws’ home. Her husband was an army havildar posted in Uttarakhand. Her family also claimed that they suffered from dowry-related torture.
The series of dowry-related tortures and suicides have left the nation in shock while it also exposed the dark, women oppressing side of the Kerela society.
Anjana A.S, a journalism student based in Thiruvananthapuram says “A change will happen only when Kerala’s women liberate themselves from traditional roles, get out of the subordinate roles prescribed by our society.”
She added, “These numbers do not reflect the real situation in our families,” says a senior lady police officer. “Even well-educated and well-employed women are tortured over dowry, and after years of marriage. It’s the same male chauvinist mindset which also rules Kerala and its politics.”