Ministers bungalows are dens of torture of women

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Raghunath Mohanty and K B Ganesh Kumar
New Delhi, April 2: While there is growing awareness and public movement on crimes against women, two high-profile cases again throws light on the length that India needs to go before women can claim feeling of being safe.

Two cases involving ministers, one from Orissa and another from Kerala, speak of the extent of harassment, women in India face, on a daily basis.

Today, a court granted bail to Odisha's former law minister Raghunath Mohanty and his wife Pritilata, three days after they were arrested for allegedly torturing their daughter-in-law for dowry.

Raghunath Mohanty, 64, five-time legislator from Basta constituency in Balasore district, resigned from the state cabinet on March 15, a day after his daughter-in-law accused him of torturing her for dowry.
In her complaint at a police station in Balasore, Barsa Swony Choudhury alleged that she had been physically and mentally tortured by her husband Raja Shree since their wedding in June 2012.

She also alleged that her father-in-law Raghunath, mother-in-law Pritilata, sister-in-law Rupashree and other family members were also involved in the crime.

Barsa has claimed that her parents had given Rs.10 lakh at the time of the marriage, as was demanded, but her husband and in-laws were unhappy. They insisted that her parents should pay Rs.25 lakh and also offer them a multi-utility vehicle.

Kerala's shame

Meanwhile in Kerala, forest minister K B Ganesh Kumar was forced to quit after his wife levelled charges of domestic violence.

Kumar, who initially took a defiant stand on the charges levelled by his wife Yamini Thankachi as "totally baseless" and also ruled out his resignation till last evening, later drove to the Chief Minister's residence and submitted his resignation.

The Kerala Congress (B) leader, who resigned after his wife lodged a police complaint alleging domestic violence, stated in his resignation letter that he was quitting "owing to personal reasons."

The long-running incompatibility between the couple reached a flashpoint yesterday with Kumar filing a divorce petition in a court.

While Kumar charged his wife of "blackmailing" and "manhandling", Yamini rejected the allegations and asserted she was a victim of "domestic violence" for the last 16 years after she objected to her husband's "illicit affairs".

Yamini also blamed the Chief Minister claiming that she had approached him with a complaint, but he dissuaded from pressing it and promised that he would intervene and settle the family dispute.

If law-makers, are accused of torture and harassment of women, then there is little hope for the women's fraternity of equality and respect in homes and in society. As elders have been saying for ages, the mindset has to change and harsh law is required to teach a lesson to the high and mighty.

OneIndia News

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