On Thursday, the action council directly filed a complaint to the Kochi Deputy Commissioner of Police, after which the woman’s statement was taken but no case has been registered yet.

Representative image of womanIMAGE FOR REPRESENTATION (UNSPLASH / SEBASTIAN HANS)
news Crime Saturday, July 24, 2021 - 12:20

“He thrashed me brutally at nights covering my mouth. I could not even cry out aloud. They made me starve without giving food as I stood against selling the gold from my marriage. When my father questioned about the harassments, they (in-laws) attacked him breaking his leg and rib bone,” Kochi native Elizabeth* (name changed on request) sobbed uncontrollably as she recounted to the media about the ordeal she had been facing at her in-laws house for the past three months. The harassment faced by the 31-year-old comes at a time when multiple dowry related deaths have jolted the state. The woman has accused the police of delay in taking action even after filing a complaint.

Elizabeth’s ordeal at the hands of 31-year-old software engineer, Jipson Peter - a native of Kochi, came out to the media after the family and acquaintances of the woman formed an action council demanding justice. According to the family, even days after filing the complaint about the dowry harassment, police did not take any action. On Thursday, the action council directly filed a complaint to the Kochi Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP).

Elizabeth, a teacher, got married to Pachalam native Jipson, who works at Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, this April. Days into her marriage, Elizabeth alleges that Jipson and his family started harassing and torturing her, asking for more dowry and gold. Her family had given her 50 sovereigns of gold at the time of her wedding and had also said that half of the family’s wealth was hers.

“Three days into the marriage, Jipson and his mother started pressing me to ask for money from my family. He also wanted to sell my gold to buy an apartment. I kept saying no, and he started threatening me. Initially, the harassment was verbal. He used to call me bad words, saying he will lock me up in the room. Later on, he started beating me black and blue. At night he closed my mouth and thrashed me in the abdomen and back. I could not even cry..,” Elizabeth tells TNM.

Not being able to take the assaults further, Elizabeth says that several times in the past three months, she had taken her phone to ring the police. However, she says that Jipson and others in the family used to threaten her. “He used to call the Assistant Vicar of St Joseph Church at Thevara, Fr Nibin Kuriakose to pacify me. And the priest used to tell me that I cannot go back to my own home as I will be a ‘burden for my family’ and that I have to continue living with Jipson, etc.,” she says.

Two weeks back, Elizabeth was denied food by the family for a whole day. “At night, I went and took some food to eat. For that, Jipson and the family pushed me out of the house at midnight. That day also, when I was about to call the police, Jipson called Fr Nibin. My father also came and after he requested, Jipson let me into the house at night and left me at my house the next day,” Elizabeth recalls.

However, last Saturday when Elizabeth’s father met Jipson at the latter’s house, questioning him about the torture and harassment, he allegedly thrashed her father. “He pushed me onto the ground. It was an uneven surface, and my head got injured. Then his father stamped on my leg. I remember hearing a sound, but lost consciousness. I could feel them beating my chest and face,” Elizabeth’s father told Marunadan Malayali.

According to the family, the Ernakulam North Police took a case against Jipson for attacking Elizabeth’s father. However, the women’s cell in the police station did not take action on the harassment she faced. “When I filed a complaint, they told me they will give counselling to me and Jipson. His relative is a police officer and we think that is the reason they did not take any action,” Elizabeth alleges. Meanwhile, after the action council filed a complaint with the Kochi DCP on Thursday, Elizabeth’s statement was taken. However, she adds, a case is yet to be registered.

Speaking to TNM, Elizabeth said she is airing her ordeal in the media so that other women don’t face similar harassment at the hands of Jipson. “He was married earlier. That woman left him due to similar torture, but we did not know that. He will possibly get married again. I want no one else to suffer what I went through,” Elizabeth says, adding that she will move legally to get separated.

Read: When a woman is nothing if not a wife: Vismaya's death points to our shared guilt

Read: Once confined to some communities, dowry is now all pervasive in Kerala

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