It was three months ago that her parents last saw 22-year-old Vismaya Nair. She had gone to her college to write an exam, but did not come back as she went with her husband to his house in Sasthamkotta in Kollam district. On the morning of June 21, Vismaya’s family got a call that she was critical and admitted to a hospital. When they rushed to the hospital, they were informed that she was brought dead and was suspected to have died by suicide.
In the last 24 hours, what has emerged is a sordid tale of alleged dowry harassment and domestic violence by Vismaya’s husband Kiran Kumar, an inspector in the Motor Vehicles Department. Vismaya’s father Trivikraman Nair had told TNM that they gave 100 sovereigns of gold, more than an acre of land and a Toyota Yaris car as dowry during the wedding in March 2020. However, Kiran was unhappy with the car’s mileage and wanted cash instead. After assaulting Vismaya in front of her family a few months ago, the couple lived separately for some time. It was three months ago that Kiran took Vismaya back to his house.
Vismaya’s mother Sajitha V Nair told the media that her daughter had told her several times that Kiran used to abuse and assault her. Last week, Vismaya also messaged a cousin and sent her pictures of injuries on her face.
“She called me on June 20 and asked me to give her Rs 5,500 to pay her exam fees. I did not have the money and I told her to ask Kiran. She said he would shout at her. Kiran had blocked her from contacting her father and brother. After she begged Kiran, she was allowed to call only me. She would call me from the bathroom, and once she told me that he hit her so badly in the face that her mouth was bleeding. I told her to come back, but she said what people say, she will somehow endure it,” Sajitha told the media.
Sajitha also said that Vismaya had asked her not to message her as it would irk Kiran. “She was scared he would break her phone. He had already broken four of her phones in a fit of anger.”
Trivikraman Nair claimed that his wife had not informed him or Vismaya’s brother about the incidents of assault.
Vismaya’s brother Vijith Nair told Asianet News that people can blame them for giving dowry, but the reality was different. “People can ask why you gave dowry, but reality is different. Dowry has to be stopped completely, no other woman should suffer this,” he said.
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Laws and helplines
If you are a woman facing violence at home, call the national domestic violence hotline Dhwani - 1800 102 7282.
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 1091 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.