Gita (inset). Photo: Onmanorama
Kottayam: A dalit woman who married a man from another caste set herself on fire after repeated harassment from her husband’s relatives. The woman has been admitted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital with 80 per cent burns. So is her husband who burned his hands while trying to save her.
Geetha Anandaraj (23), a supervisor with the MNREGS at Chinnakkanal near Munnar, married Vinod Kumar (34), a driver at a resort, despite resistance from both families. They left their homes on September 10 and got married the next day. Though the police had filed a case after Geetha’s father Anandaraj complained that his daughter was missing, the court let the couple live together.
Her ordeal started when they moved into a rented house at Chinnakkanal. Vinod’s elder brother Suresh and other relatives started threatening her over phone and in person, she told the police and the magistrate.
When she went to Theni in Tamil Nadu on September 16 along with her husband’s friend Thirukumaran to seek treatment for a stomach pain, Suresh and friends followed her there and insulted her in public. They even started a campaign back home to disgrace her.
On September 19, Geetha went to the kitchen around 4 in the evening and rushed back into the room engulfed in fire, Vinod told the police. He suffered burns while trying to rescue her, he said. There was nobody else in the house at the time of the incident.
Geetha is still not out of danger, doctors said.
Anandaraj has complained to the police about the incident. The police have also received a statement suggesting this was an accident.