Sardar Meena he searched in vain for three of his daughters and two of his grandchildren who had disappeared several days ago from their home in Dudu, a village in Rajasthan, India. But last month their bodies were found in an old well in the barren countryside. Kalu27, mother of a four-year-old and a 27-day-old baby, her younger sisters Kamlesh20 years old, e Mamta, 22, both pregnant, were married to three brothers and lived together in their in-laws’ home. Before dying, the youngest of the sisters left a message in which she accused her in-laws of “being behind our five deaths”.
“We don’t want to die, but this is better than abuse,” Mamta wrote in her Whatsapp status. The message was passed on to the French news agency Afp by a cousin of the three girls. Officially, the police attributed the cause of the deaths to suicide, but for the Meena family, originally from Chhapya, a village near Dudu, the real culprits are the genders, accusing them of “ill-treatment and moral harassment for years”. At the moment, according to local media, the women’s husbands, mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been arrested for domestic violence.
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Last April, Kalu was hospitalized after being beaten by her husband and in-laws. “My daughters were subjected to violence and returned to us, but then they decided they had to return to the marital home, with their husbands”, said the distraught father to theAfp. In India, divorce is a shame for most families and marriages must be preserved at all costs to “save honor”. According to the family of the three girls, the in-laws blamed them for their poor skills. “They tormented them a lot, but my sisters were hoping that one day things would change,” she says Sonu.
The practice of dowry has been prohibited by Indian law for more than 60 years, but is often broken. “I had given them many goods: televisions, fridge, furniture. I am the father of six daughters so there is a limit to what I can do. I was able to give them an education, which is already very difficult” added the father. , showing the university cards of the three victims. After getting married they had stopped their studies on the orders of their husbands, also opposed to the fact that they could go to work.
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Local media reports daily stories of domestic violence and disputes caused by skills considered poor. Last month, a Kerala court sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for driving his wife to suicide by tormenting her for her dowry. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2020 nearly 7,000 women were killed and another 1,700 committed suicide for the same reasons as the three sisters. A Family Health Survey (Nfhs) reveals that around 30% of married women have experienced domestic violence, defined as physical and / or sexual abuse.
But for activists these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. “Between 30 and 40 women are victims of domestic violence every hour,” she told theAfp Kavita Srivastava, activist of the non-governmental human rights organization Pucl. Srivastava pointed out that these numbers are based on complaints recorded by the police. The fundamental problem, according to the author, remains the general inertia of society in the face of domestic violence in India: “This resignation is very worrying”.
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