S Kiran Kumar, the husband of 22-year-old Vismaya who was found dead on June 21, surrendered before the Sooranad police on the same night. Vismaya V Nair, a final year Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery student, was found dead at Kiran Kumar’s house in Sasthamnada near Sasthamkotta in Kollam district. Her family has alleged that she was assaulted over dowry issues and accused that this was a case of murder and not suicide. His arrest was registered on June 22 morning and a case was filed against him under 408 A (criminal breach of trust) and 304 B (dowry death) of the Indian Penal Code. Police said that more sections would be used once Vismaya's post mortem results were out.
Vismaya died a few days after she sent messages to a cousin confessing that she was subjected to brutal domestic violence by her husband, an official at the Motor Vehicle Department. Police had registered a case based on the complaint filed by Vismaya’s family after her death. Sooranad police said that Kiran is being questioned and more people will have to be questioned in the case.
In her messages to her cousin, Vismaya had written about how after assaulting her, her husband allegedly pulled back her hair and stamped on her face. She says in the message that she has not told anyone else about the assault. The photos she shared with her cousin show injuries on her face, shoulder and hands. In messages it was also mentioned that the assault was frequent.
Vismaya’s family had told TNM that they gave 100 sovereigns of gold, more than an acre of land and a Toyota Yaris car as dowry. However, Kiran was unhappy with the car’s mileage and wanted cash instead. A few months ago, Kiran had hit Vismaya in front of her parents, following which the family took him to the police station. However the police insisted on a compromise. Though Vismaya stayed back at her house after this incident, Kiran took her back three months ago, and she stopped contacting her father and brother after that. Though Vismaya did tell her mother about instances of assault in the last three months, she stayed back at Kiran’s house.
Vismaya's mother Sajitha told the media that a few weeks ago Kiran had hit on Vismaya's face so badly that her mouth had started bleeding.
If you are a woman facing violence at home, call national domestic violence hotline Dhwani - 1800 102 7282. The national helpline for women in distress is 1091.
The rights of women who are subjected to domestic abuse are protected under the law, including the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, if a husband or relative(s) subjects the woman to cruelty that causes grave injuries (physically or mentally) — by making unlawful demand of property or valuable or for not meeting such demands — he or they will be punished with imprisonment of upto three years and fine. Besides, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 makes the practice of giving and taking dowry illegal.
Women who are subjected to domestic abuse or any person who is aware of such a situation can reach out to helplines that offer assistance. The Scheme of Universalisation of Women Helpline (WHL) number 181 is a 24 hours helpline that provides immediate and emergency response to women affected by violence in public and private spaces. The helpline links to police, hospital or other authorities concerned. Even if the woman is interrupted during the call or is unable to specify her problem or address due to an illness or a disability, WHL will trace the call and initiate an emergency response. The helpline staff will maintain the confidentiality of the caller.