The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Father-in-law tries rape for dowry

Santiniketan, July 19: Shiuli Das Bairagya, a housewife in Birbhum, fled her 48-year-old father-in-law's clutches when he tried to drag her to bed last week because she could not bring any more dowry.

The 24-year-old, who had to massage mustard oil on his feet everyday since marriage, hid in a railway station through the night before taking a train home.

Today, Shiuli lodged an FIR against Nemai Das Bairagya, her father-in-law, her husband Prasanta, mother-in-law Sarati, sister-in-law Latika and her husband Kartick Das.

She also wrote to the chief minister's office how police at Sainthia, about 240 km from Calcutta, had refused to accept her complaint and suggested a settlement across the table.

The girl from Diganta Pally was married to Prasanta, 27, of Sahapur village in Sainthia last November.

Her in-laws had demanded Rs 1 lakh, for which her father Sakharam Das, a rickshaw-puller, sought the help of local youths who went door to door.

After marriage, her mason husband and his family pressured for more. They threatened her when she refused to ask her father to keep giving.

Early this month, when Sakharam came to know about her predicament, he borrowed money and sold his wife's jewellery to raise Rs 10,000, which he paid to Nemai.

Last Thursday night, when Shiuli was again massaging her father-in-law, he sought Rs 5,000 more.

'We were alone in the room,' she said shuddering. 'He asked me to bring Rs 5,000 again from my father. When I made it clear that it was beyond him, he asked me to sleep with him. When I tried to get out of the room, he dragged me to his bed' I cried out.'

Her mother-in-law, Prasanta, his sister and her husband came along and pointed fingers at Shiuli ' for outraging her father-in-law's modesty.

'They blamed me for the situation and tried to suffocate me with pillows. I managed to push them away and run out of the house. I walked for the better part of the night to reach Ahmedpur station, where I sat under a tree. The next morning, I took a train to Santiniketan,' she said.

Shiuli had a narrow escape but Imrana, 28, a housewife in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, was recently raped by her father-in-law and accused of seducing the 65-year-old. The incident shook the nation after the clergy asked her to treat her husband like her son.

At home, Shiuli just about managed to narrate the sequence of events. 'I did not know what to do ' whether to send her back or try to raise 5,000. But then I did not want my daughter to be there any longer,' said Sakharam.

Birbhum police chief Sanjay Singh said: 'I have instructed the Sainthia police station to initiate action.'

Shyamal Kundu, the officer-in-charge there, denied having refused to accept the complaint. 'The FIR was lodged today and a probe has begun. We are looking for the accused.'

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