A look into how suicide of a woman and a man is differentiated in our country by Police, Judiciary, Media and SOCIETY.
Disclaimer: I don’t intend to prove anyone right or wrong here. I am sad about Jiah Khan’s suicide and I feel terribly sorry for her mother and her family. Had she waited, I am sure life would have turned on her side one day, but perhaps she thought life is a bed of roses, which it isn’t.
This post isn’t about her. Though I feel sad about her death, I feel good that this episode has opened eyes of many to the plight of men in this country.
So things begin like this: Jiah ends her life. People start believing the tough competition in Bollywood and the way this Industry works has taken a toll on one more life. Filmmakers start writing on how they were sorry to have pushed this girl to dream more than she should have. Media starts digging who all in this Industry ended life like her because of career pressures, heartbreaks etc. However, I and a lot of my friends who are fighting for Men’s rights – tweet, post on FB, apprehending that a man would definitely be made responsible for her death. Not to our surprise, Sooraj Pancholi gets dragged into the case, is called for interrogation but to our surprise, left after initial questioning.
But our surprises did not last long. Our apprehensions were quite correct.
Her mother discovers a letter written by her (As per media reports police says that the letter was not written immediately before her death, not even couple of days before the suicide). The letter does not name anyone (which is very important from a legal and evidential point of view). However, since it was known that she was in a relationship with Sooraj Pancholi, he is arrested under section 306 of Indian Penal Code which is ‘abetment to suicide.’ From here on starts endless discoveries into her past life, particularly related to her alleged ‘treatment’ by her boyfriend. He used to hit her, he used to rape her, his father also threw her out of the house, she was hit the day she committed suicide (Post Mortem report reveals there were no injuries on her body) and the list is endless. The man is kept in custody for three days and finally sent to jail. He is made to admit to all the physical and mental torture he subjected her to IN CUSTODY.
Now, you all know this (thanks to media which is reporting by an hour in this case). But what you read after this would perhaps be not known to you. Unless you are from a family who has lost a son, brother or a father:
LOKESH KUMAR DIED ON MAY 20, 2013.
He left a 7 page suicide note. The content of which go like this (edited):
“My name is Lokesh Kumar. I am Sheetal’s husband. We got married one and a half year ago. I have taken Sheetal to her home many times. However, since last three months I haven’t been able to do so as my sister in law was pregnant and we had to go to hospital regularly. All these days, my in-laws kept scolding me for not taking Sheetal to their place. My mother was alone at home and there was no one to take care of things. Even then my mother never asked Sheetal to do any household work. Sheetal’s mother kept interfering in our family, asking her not to help in any household work and make my old age mother do everything. I kept telling my wife I have just got a new job, and that I will take her to her home as soon as I get my salary. But she never listened to me. Her mother Kamlesh, her father, her brother along with neighbours came at my home, beat me up black and blue, and she went away with them leaving behind my seven month old son. Sheetal never loved her kid. She never loved her child as a mother. She was not bothered about it. The reason for it is she always wanted a lavish life style, loved only money. She never loved me, though I loved her like mad. She did whatever her mother asked her to do. Today, when I went at their place to bring her back, her mother and father thrashed me, beat me up in front of everyone, asked me to divorce her. Sheetal herself declared until your mother and father bow down at my knees, plead and beg in front of me, I will not come back. Also, you will not stay with your parents if you want me to come back. My parents never ill treated or misbehaved with her. I wanted to give my son a beautiful future. I wanted to keep my family happy. Sheetal, you have killed everything in my life. I did everything for you, you should have at least tried to understand me. I am ending my life today. You and your mom wanted to harass me by taking my son away from me, but I won’t let you do that. I am taking my life. I never did anything wrong, but still I am being forced to end my life. Even before taking this extreme step, I called Sheetal, her mother, her father, her brother to talk to her once. But they all said, Sheetal is dead for you, you also die. I never wanted to end my life, but my mother in law forced me to. Sorry mummy papa, I couldn’t be a good son and take care of you all. Please forgive me. I have never consumed alcohol in my life, but today I am drinking because I have gone mad. My mother in law has turned me mad. Sheetal you never loved me or my child. Mummy Papa I love You.”
Lokesh was barely 27 years old. The incident that he mentions in his suicide note, where he was beaten by his in-laws was not just a brawl. His wrist was slashed. He had injuries all over his body. However, when his family went to the Police station, they were asked to settle it, as it was a matrimonial issue. There was no FIR registered. Lokesh’s medical report from that incident mentions the injuries clear and precise. On the day of his suicide, he was thrashed again – This time in full public view.
Lokesh was beaten up. His little kid had become motherless. He was threatened by his wife and in-laws constantly for a false dowry case against him to get him and his entire family behind bars. He was constantly ridiculed, let down and harassed. He CHOSE to end his life.
The news of Lokesh’s suicide came on May 21st barely in two-three newspapers, that too because he was working in a news channel and some of his friends managed to get few reporters to cover the story. No mainstream channel reported on his suicide. The news was never followed up. They were told by the police that their FIR got registered only because of the media hype, else no crime would have been registered. Even though Lokesh left the name of his wife, her mother, her father and her brother in the suicide note, the case was not booked on anyone else apart from his mother-in-law.
10 days passed. There was no police action. When some of us called the Police and pressurized a bit, we were told, the accused are absconding. When we went to the police station, they swung into action. The accused were all sitting at home and were brought to Police station. (Sooraj was taken into custody the day the unnamed note was recovered.)
Sheetal was set free on bail the very next day she was taken into custody. She lied to the court that she was taking care of the kid, though the kid cried everyday at Lokesh’s home, poor seven month old waiting for his father to arrive. I don’t even want to mention that nothing much happened to the mother-in-law and father-in-law too.
No one was interrogated. No one was questioned. The woman after being released on bail is going out trying to get fake medical reports made. SHE IS FREE.
I would like you to read this article before we go ahead in this thread: Dying Declaration enough to nail guilty – SC.
Since it is a woman who has died, SC has made an important observation. The man has been convicted of Life Imprisonment.
Now let’s watch this video: Makhdoom’s last message to the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrGmSI-xdTk&feature=email
Syed Ahmad Makhdoom left a 10 minute suicide video, a suicide note with names of people and their blackmailing tactics, clearly documented evidences of his wife’s previous three marriages with different names, the extortion racket she and her father played, gifts for her kids, a poem for her son and a message for all his friends before dying. I would leave it to you to decide after watching this video what punishment should have been given to the woman who was responsible for his death. But whatever your decision is, the court decided to set the woman FREE. Apparently, the video and its audio were not clear to the Judges!!! Talk to Makhdoom’s family and they tell you, all that he wanted is that this woman should not cheat another man and he should be given justice at least after his death. To add, the woman was never put behind bars even for a day after his death. (Sooraj will be in Jail now for I am not sure how long)
Lokesh and Makhdoom are not individual cases. There are more than 62,000 married men committing suicide every year in India – a majority of those due to family problems, as per National Crime Record Bureau. In the last few months, since I began working on my documentary Martyrs of Marriage (www.martyrsofmarriage.com ), I have seen several cases of suicide, where husbands have blamed their wives and in-laws for taking the extreme step. Some of them were falsely accused of dowry harassment, some of them were being blackmailed and threatened that these cases will be filed on them, some of them were being pressurized to pay lacs and crores to settle divorce cases and almost all of them tortured, abused and forced to leave their parents.
I have created a Suicide Timeline on the facebook page of my documentary (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DocumentaryOn498AMisuse/) and there isn’t a day we don’t get to hear about a husband’s suicide, leaving behind notes stating the reason for the extreme step. Unlike Jiah’s case, these notes have names. These notes have committed bond of marriage behind them. These notes have pain of helplessness, betrayal, cheating, being away from children and being unheard by anyone in the society.
The irony is – these notes go unnoticed even though they are dated, named, signed and a young body hangs over it.
I can just imagine what would have happened if instead of Lokesh it was Sheetal or Muskan instead of Makhdoom. Both of these men’s entire family – probably including Lokesh’s sister in law who just gave birth to a baby – would have been jailed under 304B which is Dowry Death.
There are more:
- Doctor commits suicide, blames in-laws – http://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/dehradun-city-10140908.html
- False Dowry case man kills self – http://expressindia.indianexpress.com/latest-news/false-dowry-case-man-kills-self/270124/
- 24 Year old youth commits suicide, blames in-laws: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Punjab/Chandigarh/24-yr-old-youth-commits-suicide-blames-in-laws/SP-Article1-1062575.aspx
- Father in Law commits suicide: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Accused-of-molestation-by-daughter-in-law-man-commits-suicide-blames-her/articleshow/20451365.cms
- Techie commits suicide in Jail – http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-08-12/bangalore/28203590_1_dowry-harassment-software-engineer-techie
- Father in Law commits suicide to save tortured men – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100724/jsp/calcutta/story_12718648.jsp
- Man jailed for Dowry Death hangs himself – http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-01/bangalore/29726022_1_dowry-death-suicide-note-dowry-harassment
Prashant Pandey, Manoj Kumar, Dilbagh Singh, Syed Ahmad Makhdoom, Lokesh Kumar…. The list is endless. The rate of men committing suicide in India has been increasing steadily. I remember when I was travelling to Bangalore for shoot for the film, 5 married men committed suicide that very day, three of them leaving a suicide note behind. In Prashant’s case, a team has met DGP, IG, DIG asking them to take action – but nothing has happened even after three months of his suicide. Now look at this:
WIFE DIES DUE TO ACCIDENT – HUSBAND, FAMILY RUNS AROUND FOR 13 YEARS http://evinayak.tumblr.com/post/51208481305/wife-dies-due-to-accident-hubby-famly-rund-around-13
If you read this case, you would understand the pool of lies a girl’s family can create to completely ruin life of a man and his entire family. GIRL DIES IN A CAR ACCIDENT. BOY GETS SEVERELY INJURED. Girl’s father says it was a DOWRY DEATH!!! Makes these claims daysssss after the incident. Case is registered and runs for 13 LONG YEARS. Look at this statement “The brief case was kept behind the girl’s seat so that it doesn’t recline and the girl dies.” I mean to what extent can the soul of a person die to make such claims??? The court acquits the man of dowry death charges. Convicts him for 2.5 years for negligent driving and asks to pay 7 lacs to the family. Even then the father is not satisfied and wants the boy to be sentenced for more years. The blog above details several cases like this and many more. You would need days to read all these judgments.
This is not just one blog. Victims of false cases and torture by their wives have perhaps no other alternative than to vent their feelings on a platform that is not biased like our society – Internet. Just typing 498A on google will take you into lives of men who have wasted most precious time of their lives running around courts and trying to save their parents, relatives from this inhuman TORTURE.
While suicides make it to the DATA, mothers and fathers of many of these men have died due to heart attacks – unable to bear the trauma, ridicule that they were subjected to because of false cases.
No one can save Sooraj from what lies ahead of him. But I can see there are many who want to save him, who know he can’t be held responsible for what has happened. I am glad that people can still see beyond the extreme perceptions FEMINISTS have embedded in our society. I am glad people are coming forward on social media platforms and posting what they feel about this whole thing. Not forgetting to mention that FEMINISTS have already started using their power to turn many of them down. Mahesh Murthy’s post (https://plus.google.com/108510261342123234892/posts/Vt4jd33RLdc) which went viral is one of them. I am delighted that he hasn’t given up. (http://www.facebook.com/maheshmurthy/posts/10151671082022138). I wish a woman had written this post. No one would have dared to do anything to it. But to those who are hell bent on taking sides in these issues, I want to ask them. Aren’t sisters women? Aren’t mothers women? When one man is falsely victimized, there are at least two women whose life also gets impacted. There are no feelings whatsoever for those women?
I must mention here that every year more than 40,000 women are arrested under IPC 498A alone. This, even before TRIAL! How can you hold a person guilty even before the crime has been proven? Just because the law has empowered the WIFE to allege anything on her in-laws and every complaint is treated like a Gospel Truth, can WOMEN who is a mother or a sister be subjected to this TORTURE?
I think YES. Because it serves the SYSTEM! It fills the pockets of many – Police, lawyers, media, hospitals (fake medical records are a common to file false dowry and physical assault cases) Channels get highest TRP’s when they report on crime against women.
I feel like laughing when Mahesh’s post has been tagged as ‘Sexist’. But I am sorry to say, it is better we realize ‘Sex and Gender’ now have authority of only WOMEN over it. Men can go and …………..