Twenty-five-year old Ashwini used to live with her mother and sister in Bengaluru. Sometime last year she convinced her mother that she wanted to marry a man named Yuvaraj. In February, Yuvaraj, who is employed with a private company in Bengaluru, and Ashwini got married. It was only on November 13 that Ashwini opened up to her mother and sister about the harassment she had been facing from Yuvaraj and his family. She alleged that the harassment had escalated after an astrologer made a prophecy. On November 14, Ashwini's family was told that she died of suicide.
The astrologer had predicted that Ashwini would not bear children and this exacerbated the harassment faced by the woman. Ashwini worked in the customer support department of a reputed online grocery store in Bengaluru. Her family alleged that Yuvaraj demanded expensive gifts and more dowry from Ashwini after the astrologer made the prediction.
Problems reportedly started between Ashwini and Yuvaraj (30) soon after their marriage, as Yuvaraj allegedly lost his job during the lockdown. The couple lived in Bengaluru's Horamavu area and a first information report (FIR) was registered at the Hennur Police Station against Yuvaraj and his family members. They have been booked under sections 34 (common intent), 498A (cruelty by husband and relatives), 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the investigating police officials, Yuvaraj and his family allegedly harassed Ashwini, particularly after an astrologer predicted that she would not bear children. She was also fat-shamed and faced domestic abuse from Yuvaraj. "He used to harass her for small reasons. He was constantly telling her that she was fat and also harassed her based on the astrologer's prediction," said a police official investigating the case.
Ashwini's family, speaking to TNM, said that Yuvaraj demanded expensive gifts, including a mobile phone and more money as dowry. "She received a small salary. How could she afford gifts like mobile and bike? It is the husband's birthday on November 16 and he wanted the gifts. The police should investigate this," said a member of Ashwini's family. The couple also had an argument on November 13 and according to Ashwini's family, she was assaulted on the morning of November 14. Later on the same day, Yuvaraj told Ashwini's family members that she was in the hospital.
According to Ashwini's family, she lived a disciplined life and used to work long and irregular shifts to earn money for her family after her marriage. She also stayed by herself and away from her husband for a brief period, the reasons for which are not clear to the family. Her family also said that it is not possible that she took her own life and that the explanation given by Yuvaraj was a lie. While investigating police officials said that Ashwini died by suicide and that the only injuries on her body were strangulation marks around her neck, her family alleged that there were other injury marks on her body and that Yuvaraj should be investigated for murder or abetment to suicide. Yuvaraj, his family member Shriram, and his friend Rakesh are the accused in the case.
Yuvaraj was working in a private paint servicing company and Ashwini's family contend that he lost his job and depended on Ashwini to make ends meet. They also alleged that she was assaulted by Yuvaraj and claimed that there were marks found on her body after her death.