24-yr-old pregnant woman dies in Kerala: Family alleges domestic violence

Amala’s family members say that she had not been allowed to visit her family even once in the last one and a half years.
Amala and Ranjith at their wedding
Amala and Ranjith at their wedding

Twenty-four-year-old Amala Vijayan was two months pregnant when she was found dead at her husband’s house in Paravur of Ernakulam district on September 4, Sunday. Amala’s family have complained that she was subjected to domestic abuse at her husband’s house. North Paravur police told TNM that they have registered a case of unnatural death and a case will be registered for domestic violence soon. “The family have told the police that Amala was not allowed to visit her parents living in Thiruvananthapuram. The allegations will be investigated and a case of domestic abuse will be registered based on the findings, in which case, the investigation will be taken up by the DySP,” said Paravur Sub-Inspector Prasanth P Nair.

Amala, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, married Ranjith from Ayikkathara house, Paravur in August 2020. She lived in Paravur with Ranjith and his parents Ashokan and Beena. According to Amala’s cousin Lavanya, she visited her family in Thiruvananthapuram a few times immediately after the wedding, but had not visited her family in the past one and a half years. According to relatives, Amala was barred from visiting her home by her husband’s family. They alleged that they came to know about her pregnancy only after her death. Lavanya, who lives with her husband in Paravur, said that trouble at their house began early on in the marriage. The abuse was initially directed at her alleged incompetence in doing domestic chores. Even though no formal complaint was filed, Lavanya said that she and her husband have had to approach Ranjith’s family multiple times for an amicable solution.

Amala was allegedly not allowed to interact with her neighbours in Paravur. Lavanya said that Ranjith’s family generally kept aloof from the neighbours, and Amala was prevented from having any contact whatsoever. “If she started a conversation with a neighbour, her mother-in-law would immediately intervene,” she accused. “Even though I lived close by, Amala was not allowed to visit me in the two years that she lived in Paravur,” she added.

According to Lavanya, Amala’s phone was destroyed soon after the wedding and she was not allowed to accept her family’s offer to buy her a new phone. “Whenever anyone from the family tried to contact Amala, her husband and in-laws would monitor what was being said, sometimes even recording the calls,” she accused. She also said that Amala had no contact with anyone in her family for the past two-three months.

“Even when I visited her, the in-laws would hover around, making it impossible for Amala to speak to us freely,” she said. Lavanya added that the family had told Ranjith that they would take Amala with them for a while and decide what needs to be done later, but that neither he nor his family agreed to it. “Amala was told that if she wished to go to her parents’ house, she would have to abandon her marriage before she went,” Lavanya added. Dowry was not a cause for the abuse, Lavanya said. According to her, the family was also not aware of any instance of physical abuse.

Amala’s family learned about her death only when her father-in-law contacted Lavanya’s husband after the body was taken to a hospital and the death was confirmed. Lavanya said that they began to suspect that Amala did not die by suicide after they saw her body. “She was a bold girl, and would never take her own life,” she added. Amala’s body will be taken to Thiruvananthapuram for the last rites after the post mortem on Monday afternoon. Her family, including parents Vijayan and Rajeshwari and brother Aromal, are determined to pursue the case legally.

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