Woman alleges torture by husband abroad

The family of a 29-year-old woman from Chottanikkara has petitioned the police about the alleged mental and physical torture at the hands of her husband at Calgary, a city in Canada, where the couple had settled since their marriage, before they returned here last month.

Though the family had petitioned the Chottanikkara police in December, the matter came to light only now, after a video on the plight of the woman made rounds on social media.

The victim, identified as Shruthy Suresh, is bedridden and being fed through tubes, while her speech capacity remains lost, after her husband allegedly forced her to drink a strong chemical used as toilet cleaner in May while they were in Calgary. The couple returned to Kochi on December 12.

“Her husband Sreekanth Menon left her at the airport and went to his home at Kodungalloor after which he had not contacted us. We have taken our daughter to multiple hospitals since then, and she has already undergone surgery, while a review is scheduled for next month for another surgery,” said Suresh Sathyalayathil, her father.

The family has petitioned the State and Central women’s commissions and the District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural). The woman got married in November 2018 and left for her husband’s place at Calgary the next month.

The Chottanikkara police have registered a case under IPC Section 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) based on her written statement and that of her family. Police sources said evidence would have to be collected from Canada, since the alleged crime took place there. “Violence demanding dowry, forced feeding of toilet cleaner, and forced drug use are among the charges levelled in the statements. But she had not mentioned forced drug abuse at the hospital she had sought treatment, while it also remains an enigma as to why she put up with the alleged ordeal for over a year in a country where the offender, if reported, would have met with severe punishment. Also, the family had levelled allegations against her in-laws, saying that they had also harassed her, in their petition to the Rural Superintendent of Police, while those charges were not there in the petition lodged with us,” said a senior officer associated with the probe.

The police have issued a lookout notice, so that the woman’s husband does not leave the country. They are also planning to record his statement and that of his family.

Meanwhile, CRS Smrithi Association, the Old Students Association of Cochin Refineries School Ambalamukal, of which the victim was an alumnus, is planning to form an action council, said Philip Jackson Biveira, its secretary. Representatives of the association met the victim on Wednesday.

“She is a victim of domestic violence and that of forced drug and alcohol abuse. She could not reveal her ordeal while in Canada for fear of her life. We have collected all her medical records, which we will share with doctors in our association and take a call on the way forward shortly,” said Lakshmi Subramanian, a lawyer and a member of the association who met her.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2022 4:41:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/woman-alleges-torture-by-husband-abroad/article33680093.ece