It was an emotional moment for Thrivikraman Nair as the Additional Sessions Court in Kollam, Kerala pronounced a guilty verdict for Kiran Kumar, the man responsible for his daughter’s death on Monday, 23 May.
Speaking to reporters outside the court after the verdict was pronounced, Nair said his daughter had finally got the justice she deserved and that he was content with the verdict.
Vismaya, a student of Ayurveda, was only 22 years old when she died by suicide on 21 June 2021 after she got married to then 30-year-old Kiran Kumar, a government employee.
The court pronounced Kiran Kumar guilty of all charges, including dowry death and harassment, and abetment of suicide.
It was the verdict Vismaya’s father had hoped for. Vismaya’s mother Sajitha thanked everyone and hoped that no one else would suffer the way her daughter did.
'Verdict Against a Social Evil Like Dowry'
Ahead of the verdict, her father, speaking to Manorama News, said that it was his mistake that his child was not with him. “My prayers are that the verdict should be such that it gives a message to the society and no person should go through what I went through,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the verdict was pronounced, Public Prosecutor G Mohanraj said,
“It is not a verdict against one individual but against a social evil like dowry. The court has found the accused (Kiran) guilty of three of the charges that the prosecution raised. The quantum of punishment will only be announced tomorrow (24 May) and we are expecting maximum punishment.”
Kollam Additional Sessions Court Judge Sujith KN held Kiran guilty under three sections of the Indian Penal Code – 306 (abetment of suicide), 498A (cruelty by husband or a relative), and 304B (dowry death). Two other sections that the prosecution charged – 323 and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) – were not included in the verdict. Kiran had been out on bail from the Supreme Court, granted to him last year.
On Monday, Judge Sujith also pronounced the bail cancelled and Kiran was arrested from the premises. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Tuesday.
'We Worked Hard To Find the Evidence': Investigating Officer
The police, who had investigated the case and filed the charge sheet in a matter of days, are also happy with the verdict. The investigating officer, DySP Sasthamcotta Rajkumar, hailed the efforts of all the police officers who worked in the case, and thanked the cyber cell for its support in finding crucial evidence in the case, which helped the prosecution.
“We worked hard to find the evidence and Mohanraj sir (public prosecutor) presented it well at the court, that's what helped bring this verdict now,” said Rajkumar.
'We Should Start Asking Boys Questions': Crime Branch IG
Crime Branch IG Harshitha Attaluri pointed out that Vismaya had suffered right from the first day of her marriage.
“She was being harassed even before the marriage. Not being able to go through the harassment, she died of suicide. What happened was a tragedy. The fact is that many such cases are happening. These kinds of verdicts will embolden people to come forward and complain. I hope Kiran gets maximum punishment in this case. This is a vindication for the action taken by the police,” she said.
She also added that it cannot be said that her father forced her. “In this case, the parents did not insist that Vismaya go back to her marital home [after facing abuse]. But she wanted the marriage to work, so she kept going back. Our focus is always on how girls are raised, we ask questions only to the women. That should change. We should start asking questions to the boys we raise. Parents should take care of that. Only then, can we bring about a change in the society,” Harshitha added.
Vismaya’s brother Vijith too expressed his satisfaction, calling it a result of everyone’s prayers. “The case has been argued well by the prosecution. The belief that people have in the judicial system has been reinforced. This case is a big example of this. We will not get Vismaya back, she is no more. But this verdict will be a reassurance for many like her who are suffering. I thank the media, the government, the prosecution and everyone else,” he said.
Vismaya was found dead at her marital home in Kollam on 21 June 2021. She died two days after sending messages to her cousin about how Kiran had brutally beaten her many times over a car that was given to him as part of her dowry.
After her death, based on her family’s complaint, Kiran was arrested and named as the main accused in the case filed by the police. The police also said that though Vismaya had died by suicide, she was driven to death by constant dowry harassment and mental harassment by her husband.
(Published in arrangement with The News Minute.)