The marital discord incident between Tapaswini Das and her husband Dr Sumit Sahu in Berhampur intensified into a big storm and grabbed the media attention after the former staged a sit-in protest for several days in front of her in-law's house demanding justice.
It seems the incident inspired several other brides/women across Odisha who were victims of injustice by their in-laws. Following the Tapaswini-Sumit marital discord incident, several similar incidents have come to the glare from across Odisha, especially in Ganjam district. Many women have staged sit-in protests in front of their in-law's houses seeking justice.
However, on Sunday, such an incident took an ugly turn after the mother-in-law of a protesting bride killed herself by allegedly consuming acid. The incident took place in Ganjam NAC Central and the deceased has been identified as Sushama Panda.
Marital discord between Sujit Panda and Tanmayi Panda, son and daughter-in-law of Sushama, turned ugly and currently is under subjudice at Court. Meanwhile, the bride resided with her parents at their home. However, on Saturday, Tanmayi staged a sit-in protest in front of her in-law's house for around 10 hours.
Tanmayi staged the protest demanding her in-laws to return the dowry amount and gold jewellery weighing over 200 grams she brought during her marriage. After staging a protest for around 10 hours, she returned. However, feeling disgraced over the incident, Sushama killed herself, alleged the family members of the deceased.
"She felt mentally harassed and was under mental pressure as she thought the person whom she brought as a bride physically assaulted him. She couldn't bear the pain and also feared public disgrace," said Sujit.
Sujit added, "Before taking the extreme step, she cried that she won't be able live after such public disgrace."
It is pertinent to mention here that, Sujit and Tanmayi tied the knots in December 2020 and it was a love marriage. The bride was welcomed by her in-laws happily. However, within two months, things turned uglier and Tanmayi went to her parents.
Following the death, Ganjam police launched an investigation based on the FIR of Sujit.
"We have registered a case and are probing based on the reports by the investigating team," said Pradip Kumar Dalai, ASP, Ganjam.
On the other hand, the reaction of Tanmayi's family members over the incident couldn't be obtained.
Several such incidents have emerged recently in which women/brides have fought against the injustice of their in-laws and have staged protests against them. Questions have been raised if delays in serving justice are the prime reason behind such incidents or if it is police inaction that is forcing women to take a stand and fight for justice.
"There is a saying, justice delayed is justice denied. Even there is another saying, justice hurried is justice buried. No one can be prevented from staging a protest but if the protest poses a threat to law and order, the administration should step in immediately to resolve it," said Niranjan Nayak, a lawyer.
Meanwhile, Jayshri Nayak, a social activist said, "If you have evidence, file a case against the man. Staging protest in front of their house where their ignorant parents reside, who are unaware of the dispute, and blaming them is not justified."
Reported by Soumya Ranjan Sahu (Bhubaneswar) and Jagannath Sahu (Berhampur)