- Vismaya Nair, an Ayurveda medicine student, was married to Kiran Kumar
- Vismaya was found hanging in a bathroom at her husband's home in Kollam
- CM Pinarayi Vijayan condemned what he called the "barbaric dowry system"
In a tragic story that has left Kerala in shock, a 24-year-old woman who had sent WhatsApp messages to her family sharing photos of alleged torture over dowry, was found dead at her husband's home on Monday.
Vismaya Nair, an Ayurveda medicine student, had alleged in her messages she was dragged by her hair and stamped on her face by her husband Kiran Kumar, who has now been arrested.
As her story resonated across the state and circulated on social media, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned what he called the "barbaric dowry system" and announced that special officers would respond to such complaints.
"As a society, we need to reform the prevailing marriage system. Marriage must not be a pompous show of the family's social status and wealth. Parents have to realise that the barbaric dowry system degrades our daughters as commodities. We must treat them better, as human beings," the Chief Minister tweeted, sharing helplines.
A fair society is that which treats women and men as equals. In light of the recent horrifying incidents of domestic abuse, Kerala has decided to take more stringent measures to create a fair society. The Government and the people will stand together to end this injustice.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) June 23, 2021
Former opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress was among leaders who visited the family.
Vismaya was found hanging in a bathroom at her husband's home in Kollam.
Kiran Kumar, 30, an employee at the State Transport Department, has been also suspended from his government job.
"My sister's death is murder. Because she was a victim of dowry harassment, was facing a lot. She had to even stay at her parents' home for a while," said Vismaya's brother Vijith.
Vismaya and Kiran Kumar were married in June last year.
Her father Thrivikraman Nair said the family had given 800 grams of gold and over one acre land to Kumar, besides a car worth Rs 10 lakh as dowry. But he allegedly kept assaulting her and demanding more.
"He had beaten Vismaya in front of us after coming to our home during midnight last January," Mr Nair was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
Her father stopped her from returning to her in-laws' home.
Inexplicably, she went with Kumar to his home on his birthday on March 17. He picked her up from her college.
The two families were to meet for a "compromise" just three days later to settle a police complaint that had been filed against Kumar.
The police say Vismaya only stayed in touch with her mother after she returned to her husband.
Vismaya's father claims that Kumar was pressuring the family to gift him with cash instead of the SUV they bought for him.
"The car was worth Rs 10 lakh. 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," Mr Nair said.
"The incident in Kollam is quite painful. It has shocked the conscience of the people of Kerala," said Loknath Behera, Kerala Police chief.
"The accused has been taken into custody. If there are any others who are involved we will identify them and charge them under relevant sections of the law," he added.