Another life lost to domestic violence; eerie silence over the issue rubbing salt to wounds

The victim, a resident of Baramulla, had two daughters, including the toddler, the elder being just three years old.
Another life lost to domestic violence; eerie silence over the issue rubbing salt to wounds
When the world was enjoying the festivities and love of families on Eid-ul-Fitr, she was rushed to SKIMS Soura with grievous injuries to her head. [Representational Photo]File/ GK

Srinagar: Another precious life was lost to an alleged domestic violence incident in Kashmir on Monday. The victim was not even 30 years of age, and was lactating a one-and-a-half year old toddler.

The victim, a resident of Baramulla, had two daughters, including the toddler, the elder being just three years old.

When the world was enjoying the festivities and love of families on Eid-ul-Fitr, she was rushed to SKIMS Soura with grievous injuries to her head.

A senior doctor privy to her condition at the hospital said she was ‘brought late’ to the hospital. “She had an extradural hematoma, which is a treatable condition. But she was brought late to the hospital and her condition was very bad when she arrived,” the doctor said.

He said the patient had a low GCS score and was brain dead upon arrival. “She was put on an ambu bag and later on a ventilator but the family was apprised about her grievous condition,” he said.

A relative of the victim wishing anonymity said the patient received ‘best of care at the hospital’ but had multiple injuries. “Three days in ICU, we recorded the multiple wounds on her face and body,” he said.

He said that the in-laws of the victim had informed her parents about ‘a fall from the kitchen counter’. “Her dorsal nasal bone was injured, she had an injury on chin and it seemed from her wounds that she had been beaten up and dragged,” he said.

The relative expressed guilt over the ‘feeling that she suffered domestic violence for years without anything being done to help her by the family, including him’.

“Her sister has told us now that she was being constantly beaten up by her husband and that her in-laws were also subjecting her to violence,” he said.

He said that the violence was not related to dowry but ‘the husband was just violent and suppressive and other family members of his took it over from him’, he said.

“She never informed her parents because she feared societal reprisal for speaking against her husband. This is what is killing our daughters, the pressure of society,” the relative lamented, breaking up as he narrated the ordeals the victim had suffered in the few years of her marriage.

The talks with the family members of the victim reveal a running thread through all the cases of violence against women: the absence of an intervention.

Years ago, Government of India constituted a task force and instituted a fund to help prevent violence against women and help those undergoing it.

The One Stop Centers for Women and the Nirbhaya Fund was to reach the grass roots and provide the much needed, sometimes life saving intervention for victims of violence. It has not. Not yet.

Harvendar Kour, the newly appointed Mission Director Integrated Child Development Program who also holds the charge of Women and Child Development Department in J&K feels the Baramulla victims ‘might never have heard of anything like One Stop Center.

“The Center is operational in Baramulla but the awareness part is just too rudimentary,” she said. She said that the Center would provide ‘all required help’ to the case.

“I feel what we need the most right now is to help women speak up. This will help the females who are subjected to any kind of violence in homes, workplaces, outside homes and anywhere. They need to talk about it. That is the first step,” Kour said.

She said that the department would launch a door to door awareness program about the One Stop Centers and help women get confidence that they need not suffer.

At Baramulla, the family has pinned hopes on the police investigation. A Special Investigation Team headed by Additional Superintendent Baramulla has been constituted to probe the incident by J&K Police.

“In view of the sensitivity of case FIR 42/2022 under section 307, 323, 498A IPC of police station Kreeri, a Special Investigation Team is constituted for speedy/quality investigation of the case,” reads the police statement.

“The SIT is directed to carry out the investigation of the case on professional lines and ensure that no lacuna is left in the investigation. The team shall conclude the investigation of the case on its merits at an earliest”.

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