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Engineer locked in kennel for cafe money
- Pills forced down throat to induce abortion

Hyderabad, July 17: Physical torture for dowry has plumbed new depths here after it emerged that a software engineer was kept in a kennel and made to abort her baby for not fetching additional money from her family.

Shirisha, 22, from Manchikapuddi village in Guntur district’s Duggirala mandal told police on Thursday from her hospital bed that her husband P. Shashikanth, also a software engineer, and his parents had been harassing her for more dowry over the last seven months.

The trio has been remanded in 15 days’ judicial custody by the additional magistrate in Tenali and was sent to the local sub-jail yesterday.

The nightmare began for Shirisha, who married Shashikanth in June last year, when her husband, who had an H1B work visa, returned from the US in six months after failing to survive in the competitive atmosphere there.

Shashikanth, whose parents work in the Electronic Corporation of India Limited, decided to start a cyber cafe in the busy commercial district of Dilsukhnagar. He needed money to set up the cafe and asked Shirisha’s family to shell out the cash. The latter’s grandfather (her father is dead) — a textile merchant in Tenali — had already given Rs 5 lakh in dowry and Rs 18 lakh in kind at the time of her marriage.

After two months of unsuccessfully pressuring a pregnant Shirisha to get more money, Shashikanth’s mother Aditya Kumari told her in March she would not be allowed to deliver the baby if she did not fetch additional dowry.

Kumari and her son assaulted Shirisha, forced her to have abortion pills and left her to bleed in the bathroom. “They did not want the bedclothes (even those were donated by my grandfather) to be soiled by blood,” the engineer, who was not allowed to pursue a career after marriage, said.

Shirisha was warned not to let her folks know about her ordeal and would feign cheerfulness whenever they visited her at her A.S. Rao Nagar flat. But after Kumari caught her daughter-in-law discussing her plight with her mother and grandfather in June, Shashikanth beat her with a dog leash.

She was later pushed into the doghouse in the balcony for a day and reportedly made to eat and drink the dog’s excreta. “I spent the whole night with the dog,” a humiliated Shirisha cried. She was brought out of the kennel only when neighbours threatened to inform police and animal activists.

Allowed to step out to attend a relative’s marriage in the city, Shirisha was bundled away by her family to Guntur where she filed a complaint and was admitted to hospital to get treatment for her bruises. The engineer said Shashikanth and his mother were planning to murder her, having already got her to pen a suicide letter which was photographed and videographed.

“They have kept it in a bank locker as a precaution before they conspired to murder me,” she said.

Police recovered the digital camera, the photograph and the suicide letter from the locker yesterday.

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