The police have arrested her husband and his parents after a video shot before her death alleging dowry harassment went viral.

Shobana had gotten married to 28-year old Vijaykumar, an Information Technology employee, who worked in Chennai, in 2018.
news Crime Friday, July 17, 2020 - 16:32

"My mother-in-law says I have come to ruin this family. Despite bringing so much gold to the house, she says I have brought nothing to the marriage. They have not done anything for me till now. Despite this, they say I have come to destroy the house and that I am a prostitute. Please take care of my child well, that is all I want. Bury me next to my father."

These are some of the last words of 26-year-old Shobana, who was residing in Virudhachalam in Cuddalore district, before she took her own life on Wednesday. In videos shot before her death, she alleged that dowry harassment and abuse from her husband and in-laws forced her to contemplate suicide. She had gotten married to 28-year old Vijaykumar, an Information Technology employee, who worked in Chennai, in 2018. The couple have a one-year-old son.

Shortly after her death, the police arrested Vijaykumar and his parents after her video expressing her reasons for suicide went viral. According to the police, her husband had lost his job in Chennai due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he allegedly pressured Shobana to bring more money from her family as dowry. When she couldn't, her in-laws and husband allegedly treated her with disrespect and verbally abused her.

"Vijaykumar lost his job after the pandemic as people were being laid off. So he and his parents, Selvarani (45) and Anabalagan (53) tortured Shobana for money. The husband was also having an affair with another woman and Shobana had suspected that they were trying to drive her out to accommodate the other woman," says a police official in the Virudhachalam Deputy Superintendent's office.

Shobana had already brought 60 sovereigns of jewellery during her marriage, according to the police. In another video shot before her death, she pleads that her son be taken care of and that those responsible for her death be punished.

"Her mother confirmed that she had called asking for more jewellery based on her husband's demands. She has told her family several times that she was being tortured by her mother-in-law, but they told her to adjust and stay put. Even the night before her suicide she has called them to cry. They told her to come home with the child for sometime," says an investigating official, who adds, "Tensions in the house seem to have escalated in the last two weeks.”

The case was initially booked under section 174 (3) as it involved suicide by a woman within seven years of her marriage. It was later altered after investigation to include section 304(b) ( Dowry death) and section 306 (Abetment of suicide).