Kerala woman retracts dowry abuse allegation against husband, family says she’s missing

In a video, the woman said that while it is true her husband hit her, “it happened only twice” and was due to a “misunderstanding” between them.
Kerala woman retracts dowry abuse allegation against husband, family says she’s missing
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Nearly a month after publicly accusing her husband and his family of assaulting her over dowry, a woman from Kerala’s Ernakulam has appeared in a video retracting her earlier statements and claiming that she was forced to make the dowry allegations. On May 12, just seven days after her wedding, 26-year-old Neha (name changed) had lodged a complaint with the Pantheerankavu police against her husband and Kozhikode native Rahul P Gopal, alleging that she had to endure brutal torture at his hands over dowry. Neha and her family also alleged that the police were being negligent towards them, after which a team headed by Feroke Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Saju K Abraham took charge of the investigation. 

Now, in an 18-minute video posted on a YouTube channel, Neha can be seen denying the dowry allegations she had made earlier. Neha said in the video that while it is true Rahul hit her, “it happened only twice” and was due to a “misunderstanding” between them. She claimed it was to strengthen her case that she later changed the narrative and said he beat her over dowry. Rahul and his family never asked her for dowry, she claimed, and alleged that it was her lawyer and family members who forced her to make such an allegation. She also said that she now regrets making the “false allegation.”

When TNM met Neha on May 14, two days after she filed her complaint, she had detailed to us the harassment she had faced at the hands of her husband. “He beat me on my face, head, and ear. After a point, I almost lost consciousness. He shouted at me and kept telling me that he would kill me. Then he tried to kill me by strangling me with the cable of a phone charger. Luckily, I managed to get hold of the cable with my left hand and escaped narrowly. Then I tried to escape from the room but he dragged me to the bed and beat me using his belt. He pressed his fingernails into my lips and neck,” she said on May 14. 

Now, however, she claims that he hit her only twice, and that she exaggerated the rest due to the pressure from her family and advocate. 

Kerala woman retracts dowry abuse allegation against husband, family says she’s missing
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Her family, meanwhile, has denied Neha’s latest claims. “We don’t know whether the video, which is currently circulating, was voluntarily recorded by her or someone forced her to do it,” Neha’s brother told TNM after the video came out. He also said Neha had been missing from her workplace in Thiruvananthapuram since the morning of June 3, and that the family came to know about this only after a week, on June 10. “Last Monday morning, we dropped her off at the Ernakulam railway station so she can go to her workplace in Thiruvananthapuram. But we came to know this morning that she has not yet reached there. She used to talk with her mother every day, but her phone was switched off yesterday (June 9). So this morning we contacted her colleague, who told us that Neha had not come to work since last Monday,” he said.

When the family contacted the manager of her workplace, he said that she took a leave from June 3 to June 21, Neha’s brother said. “According to the manager, she had claimed at the office that she was going on a trip with her family,” he added. 

The family has now lodged a missing complaint with the Paravoor police in Ernakulam. They said they have also informed the investigation team handling the domestic abuse case of the latest developments. Neha’s brother said the team has initiated a preliminary probe into the missing case. 

He also clarified that the police had registered the domestic violence case after a doctor’s statement confirming that she was physically assaulted. “We took her to Feroke Taluk Hospital before going to the police station to lodge the complaint. The police have a doctor’s statement not only from this Taluk hospital, but also from a private hospital where Rahul had taken her that night,” he added.

Amid speculations that she was forced into retracting her allegations, Neha subsequently appeared in a second video doubling down on her new claims, stating that she was safe and that no one had threatened her to make the first video. “Because of all the pressure I was facing, I felt like staying away from everyone for a while. I know it’s already too late. But I felt that I had to reveal the truth at least at this stage. That’s why I decided to stay away and make this video. My situation at home would not have allowed me to do this,” she said, and also accused her family of issuing her a death threat.

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