On Monday, Kerala woke up to the shocking news of the death of a 24-year-old Vismaya Nair at her husband’s house in Sooranadu in Kollam district.
Vismaya was a fourth year undergraduate student in Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) at Mannam Ayurveda College in Pandalam. She was married to S Kiran Kumar, who is an Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspector with the state government’s motor vehicle department, on May 31, 2020.
Soon after her death was confirmed, Vismaya’s relatives alleged that she was a victim of dowry harassment.
They produced WhatsApp messages Vismaya apparently sent to her relatives and friends in which she described the physical abuse and torture at her husband’s house.
Vismaya’s death sent shockwaves across Kerala. Social media has been inundated with demands for ensuring justice to Vismaya and bringing the culprits to book.
The investigation appears to be heading in the right direction as the police arrested her husband and prime suspect Kiran Kumar on Tuesday.
State Women’s Commission and State Youth Commission have taken suo moto cases.
Screen-grabs of WhatsApp messages and photos of the torture sent by Vismaya to her relatives and friends during the last one year clearly showed her husband’s role in her death. Her relatives have shared the chat details with the media.
In one of the messages, Vismaya wrote that her husband did not like the car gifted by her father as dowry and used to beat her over that.
She described Kiran’s torture methods in another message. “He held my hair and dragged me on the floor. Later, he stamped on my face,” she wrote. She also sent photos of the injuries she suffered with the message.
"He used to verbally abuse my father and often said he deserved more dowry as per his stature but got only very little," she wrote in another message.
What Vismaya’s parents say
Vismaya’s father Thrivikraman Nair alleged that Kiran Kumar is responsible for her daughter’s murder. “She could not have taken her life. She was murdered,” he said.
He alleged that Kiran used to assault Vismaya under the influence of alcohol. “He had beaten up her in my presence once. His mother too assaulted her,” he alleged.
Nair said Kiran broke Vismaya’s mobile phone for wishing him on Father's Day (June 20).
Vismaya apparently is in constant touch with her mother Sajitha.
“She asked for Rs 1,000 to continue her studies. Kiran did not give her money to go to college. He did not allow her to call relatives either. He is responsible for my daughter’s death,” Sajitha said.
What her brother has to say
Vismaya’s relatives apparently had seen Kiran abusing her a few times in the past.
Her brother described one such incident.
“One day, he beat up Vismaya in front of our house. I too got some hits when I tried to stop him. We filed a police complaint. Medical examination revealed that he was in an inebriated state. However, we were forced to withdraw the complaint at the insistence of top officials from the Motor Vehicles department (where Kiran works). He gave us a written apology in which he stated that he would not beat her up again. We believed in his promise and I lost my sister,” Vijith said on Monday.
After the incident, Vismaya apparently stayed in her own house for two months. “Later, he went to her college and took her to his home,” he said.
How much dowry Kiran got
Vismaya's father Thrivikraman Nair said the family had given Kiran 100 sovereigns of gold and over one acre land besides a car worth Rs 10 lakh as dowry during their wedding. "But, he did not like the car and wanted Rs 10 lakh as cash instead. As I said it was not possible, he used to torture my daughter. He had beaten Vismaya in front of us after coming to our home during one midnight last January," he said.
"Kiran used to threaten Vismaya that he is a government servant and he should get more dowry than this," said Vismaya's brother Vijith.