Suspicion on part of a husband on his wife’s fidelity gives him a right to inflict injury or murder her, if we went by the diktat’s of the Police Station‘s in Tamilnadu. Sathya, a mother of three married to Venkatesh has been for the past three months facing life threatening attacks from her husband. While attempting to burn her after dousing her with kerosene but unable to find a match box, Sathya made good her escape from his clutches. Through a common friend she contacted Vandana, a volunteer in Salem Citizens Forum and narrated her trauma that she underwent in the 9 years that she has been married. In the fifth day of her marriage with venkatesh she received her first slap and just a eye contact or a word with any male be it even a male child would make her life hell.

Venkatesh we were informed is ten years elder to sathya and maybe the insecurity has gotten the better of the human inside him. Tolerating bouts of physical violence was never reported by Sathya to even her family members who lived nearby but when things went out of control three months back when her skull was broken and wounds inflicted all over her body, she mustered courage to complain in the kannankurichi police station.

The policemen as is the norm brokered for a settlement between the victim and her husband. Sathya got nothing in return in the compromise reached, not even a promise that violence will not be inflicted on her instead now she had to face abuse from the whole family of Venkatesh who supported his stance. We approached the Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr.Babu after verifying the bonafides of the case. Appreciations for the young DC who did not hesitate even once to perform his duty. He immediately called up his subordinate Inspector Rajanikanth, KannankurichiPolice Station and instructed to file an FIR. Below is the narration by LakshmiPriya who coordinated the case. – Piyush

Lakshmi Priya reports – ***************************

The two days experience in kannankurichi police station was an appalling experience and forces me to take a decision to work more on the ethics in a police station. The way the police responds to the public that too to poor and aged is horrible. To handover a copy of our complaint, I along with sathya, her sister and mother went to the above police station were we happened to witness the violent and harassment behaviour of police men (mainly the SI Ponnuvel) shown on elderly poor people.

The police men present there were annoyed by our complaint taken directly to the DCP mentioning their refusal of receiving sathya’s complaint 3 months before where she was advised at that time that this is normal issue between husband and wife (even after seeing her bleeding by her husband’s attack) and sent back with her husband. Now they again rudely asked “what else you expect us to do at that time? You go and get divorce instead coming here”.

After waiting for an hour, the inspector called us and tried to convince us that this is a regular family dispute but by our strong representation insisting this is an attempt murder case, he without any other way, instructed SI Ponnuvel to register an FIR. During our wait for the SI, a poor old lady aged around 65 came inside innocently and tried to approch this SI who appears very rough with enormous tummy . he blatantly shouted at her, “why you came here? Go some where else, we cant hear you, go away, don’t you have work?”… that old woman was completely shattered including us. She helplessly went out and stood in a corner of the corridor waiting for some help.

Later SI Ponnuvel called us and interrogated sathya with the same arrogant tone. He again rudely shouted at sathya’s mother “why didn’t you come to the station first? How can we collect the witness? Why you went to this lady? Are they going to take action?” he didn’t wait for the old mother to reply at all. When sathya’s sister tried to explain he shouted at her to shut her mouth and not to interfere him. All three women were afraid to open their mouth. Later he told sathya to sign in a blank FIR sheet but we refused. Keeping us to wait till 3 pm, they registered the FIR. When we informed him that the accused Venkatesh is now at his mother’s home and can be arrested if they go now, the police men asked us that it will be a problem for them to remand in court today and will do next day. Since we were tired by this torturing investigations, we agreed and left.

On 17th September  morning by 7 am, I received a call from sathya’s sister that her mother is chased by the accused Venkatesh who was threatening to kill her for hiding her daughter, that the poor old mother escaped and hid in a temple. We immediately went to the police station and demanded his arrest immediately and said that we wont leave until he was brought to the station. After the threat of a sit in, they sent a team to find him.

The inspector called me over phone and requested to leave assuring that he will take care. Around 11 pm , the Venkatesh was arrested. When we came out of the station, we were shocked to see that same old lady (one who was chased out yesterday) standing out with the same petition with a belief that she will get justice here…