Martyrs of Marriage- Stories of Victims across borders

Ronald Dsouza
Kemmannu News Network, 10-03-2017 06:36:57

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Martyrs of Marriage- Stories of Victims across borders

“The fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives. The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision. In a quite number of cases, bed-ridden grand-fathers and grand-mothers of the husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested.”- Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar (Supra)

His name was Avadesh Yadav. Young filled with dreams and employed at a Private Bank. He was a typical shining example of our nations youth. As all Indian Parents do Avadesh Parents arranged a match to what they thought was a sanskari Indian woman. Within a week of marriage, she demanded a divorce. All good advice of the elders fell on deaf ears. She started misbehaving with his parents, hurling abuses at them. When he complained about this to her family, threats of criminal cases followed. On advice of lawyers, he filed a case of restitution of conjugal rights, requesting her to come back. Three months after that, she filed a complaint under the dreaded provision of 498a on him, his mother, father, elder brother and his wife. They ran in circles around court to finally get a bail. His wife later on filed a case of molestation in January on his father and brother and they were arrested. Unable to stomach the arrest of his own father and elder brother Avadesh hanged himself.

He left behind a suicide letter that read “I wish to ask our law makers, how they can make laws that give so much credence to mere words of a woman that whatever the other person is saying has no relevance. Shouldn’t the other side be heard too? My father and brother were picked up by police on her statement alone without any evidence. My family that never even saw a police station has to now do the rounds just because of me. Without any evidence, we have been labelled Criminals. They are demanding that we transfer my father’s house in her name. A person who is making such demands before even living with me, what will she do later? I do not want to see my family in pain. I could think of no other way than this to save my family. Please help my family get out of this problem. Mummy, Papa, forgive me please and take care of yourself. “

Dennis was employed at Dubai with a handsome salary since 9 years, his mother started egging him to tie the knot so he would have a mate that kept him company thru his later years. He got married at the late age of 38 years. A few months into the marriage he was instantly regretting his decision. She refused physical contact, was aggressive ,physically abused him and his mother and constantly demanded money for frivolous expenses. He approached the religious clergy who advised him that having a baby would solve all his marital problems. Alas this proved to be an even greater suffering as his wife started abusing their little daughter.

His complaints to various authorities fell on deaf ears as no one believed that a woman could be anything more than a loving mother and a dutiful wife. He underwent this suffering for 16 years of his married life unable to find a solution. Then came the news that spiralled him into acute depression. His wife had taken all his money and gold ornaments and fled to india with their daughter. There she had filed a false case of Domestic Violence and 498a against him. The depression caused him to loose his job. A few days later the court passed an order of interim maintenance. On the other hand he couldn’t go back to India as the cops were on the lookout for him. He was in the pits of despair and decided to take his life. He might have been successful had a friend not intervened at the right time.

Avadesh, Dennis and several such indian men placed all over the World face the brunt of this draconian law numbered 498a in the Indian Penal Code. On the mere statement or affidavit of the wife they along with their families are arrested, made to spend days in jail and run around the courts to get bail. This penultimately lead to depression and in some cases suicide. NCRB Statistics show that around 70,000 married men committed suicide in 2015. Out of these 32% were directly attributed to Family problems or marriage related issues. What no data will reflect is the several more thousands of men who are harassed and tortured every year under the yoke of such malicious litigation.

A pertinent issue here is the shocking number of woman who are victims of this arbitrary law. Grandmothers, Mothers, sisters of the husband even young female children are arrested and sent to jail under this law. As per NCRB records in 2015, 10 girls under the age of 18 and 23,175 woman were arrested. Now when we take into account that 92 % of these cases end up in acquittal its disheartening to see the number of innocent woman being traumatized for life. As the Apex court puts it “Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and cast scars forever.” Most Shockingly Woman’s rights activist fail to address this issue whereas one alleged case of molestation results in a hue and cry from these same people.

Martyrs of Marriage is a documentary film that documents the injustice that has been perpetrated on people because of misuse of section 498A of Indian Penal Code. The film interweaves personal stories of men and women who have faced trial or are undergoing trial under 498A on wrong allegations along with experiences of Judges, Advocates, Court Mediators, Detectives and Men’s Rights Activists about the abuse of this provision. It throws light on what happens, why it happens, how it happens and what the abuse of this provision is doing to lives of victims. It intends to inform and educate people about this issue and seeks intervention of lawmakers to save lives of many innocents.

Martyrs of Marriage is on its first international venture abroad. It will be screening on 10th March at 4.00 PM. The venue is the the Indian Consulate, Dubai. Attendance is free and would be a wonderful opportunity for everyone to learn about this provision. It will also be a platform for victims of this law to meet other victims and Men’s Rights Activists. So we hope to see you there.

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