A warden in the Coimbatore Central Prison has been accused of assaulting his wife and seeking dowry from her family, on Saturday. The woman’s family has also alleged police inaction in the case and accused the police in Coimbatore of downplaying the issue.
Boopathi and Sudha got married 11 years ago and live in the police housing quarters in the Race Course area in Coimbatore with their 10-year-old daughter. Boopathi, whose native is Mettur, works as a warden in the Coimbatore Central Prison, while Sudha, a native of Salem, is a homemaker.
Dowry-related violence was a part of their marital life since their wedding in 2007. Boopathi even sent his nine-month pregnant wife to her house seeking money to maintain their child once it was born.
Sudha’s family had lodged a complaint at the Salem Town All Women Police Station back then, alleging violence from Boopathi and his relatives. Since Boopathi had threatened to commit suicide if he was jailed, Sudha withdrew the complaint but never went back to live with her husband.
She then served a legal notice to Boopathi claiming money for their daughter’s education. He appeared for all the hearings of the case in the Salem Mahila Court. However, after nine months of hearings, he and his family members gave a statement in the court asking Sudha to withdraw the case saying that they will live peacefully henceforth. Sudha also withdrew the case and went to live with Boopathi in May 2018.
Sudha is now three months pregnant and alleged torture from her husband again. This time, Boopathi allegedly said that if the child is a girl, then Sudha’s parents must bear all the expenses of the child. Since Sudha did not call her parents for a few days last week, her parents had filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Police on Friday, fearing that some harm had befallen Sudha.
On Saturday, fearing the worst, Sudha’s mother called the police control room and pleaded with them to go to Sudha’s house in Race Course and to check on her. On reaching the house, the police saw Sudha unconscious and bruised.
She was admitted to a private hospital in Coimbatore for treatment. The doctors there spoke to Sudha and recorded her statement and alerted the All Women’s Police Station in Gandhipuram, Coimbatore.
Speaking to TNM, Vijayakumar, Sudha’s lawyer, accused the police of being lethargic in taking action against Boopathi. “Had they acted on the complaint we gave on Friday, this would not have happened. They are also trying to cover up the issue since the accused is one of their own. Even in the hospital, they claimed that Sudha fainted because she had not eaten for many days. It is the hospital authorities, to whom Sudha spoke, who wrote a statement on her behalf and gave it to the All Women’s Police Station in Gandhipuram. The police are playing the issue down by saying it is a family affair and are recommending counselling. Boopathi is a repeat offender and this time, we want him jailed,” he said.
Sudha’s sister, Sofiya, told TNM that Sudha’s mother-in-law Kuppayi had told Boopathi that she had made arrangements in a hospital in Mettur to determine the sex of the unborn child and to abort the fetus if it was a girl. This prompted Boopathi to demand that Sudha get Rs 5 lakh from her parents, she said.
Responding to the allegations, Coimbatore City Commissioner of Police Periaiah told TNM that the complaint had been forwarded to the investigating officer.
“An inspector-level officer and a deputy commissioner-level officer have been instructed to conduct inquiries and take action immediately,” he said.