INDIA: Child wife suicide

A man in his mid-40s has been arrested in Calcutta on charges of abetting the suicide of his second wife, a minor aged 15.

The arrest followed a complaint lodged by the victim’s family, who also alleged that she had often been tortured by her husband and in-laws for dowry.

Police said Jyoti, a school dropout, consumed poison at her in-laws’ house in Chitpur on Friday night. She was taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, where she died on Monday morning.

“The girl had an affair with next-door neighbour Premlal Khatik, a daily-wager. Premlal is married and has a 19-year-old daughter,” said Gyanwant Singh, the deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).

The Khatiks and Jyoti’s family went to a wedding in the locality from where the duo fled. “Premlal and Jyoti returned home after a couple of weeks, claiming that they had married,” said an officer of Chitpur police station.

Jyoti’s parents said “poverty and concerns about the girl’s future” had forced them to accept the marriage.

“But Premlal soon pressed the girl’s parents for money. He started torturing her after her parents turned down his demand for Rs 50,000. They did not have the means to pay the money,” said an officer.

Failing to bear the torture, Jyoti had fled her in-laws’ house several times, but Premlal would woo her back on each occasion.

“The complaint says that Jyoti was beaten up for the past two weeks. They hardly gave her anything to eat and locked her in a room,” the officer said. “On Friday night, Jyoti could lay her hands on a packet of pesticide and consumed it.”

The police raided Premlal’s house after receiving the complaint and arrested him, his wife and brother. “The names of all three were mentioned in the complaint,” said deputy commissioner Singh.

The police claimed that Jyoti’s family had not earlier complained about the torture.



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