27 year old PhD scholar commits suicide after dowry pressure

A 27-year-old, PhD scholar, allegedly committed suicide in her hostel room in IIT-Delhi on Tuesday. Her parents accuse her in-laws of harassing their daughter, Manjula Devak, for pursuing her studies.

The police had broken into Manjula’s flat in Nalanda apartment at IIT at 7:30 pm  to find her hanging from the fan. She was last seen on the campus on Monday afternoon and had last spoken to her mother on Sunday. No suicide note was found, but Devak’s parents claim that her husband wanted her to quit studies and help him in set his business which possibly pushed her to take this extreme step.

According to her father, Manoj Kumar Devak, her husband demanded 20-25 lakh dowry. The couple was married in 2013 but they had been living separately for over a year. “We got our daughter married early because their horoscopes had matched perfectly,” said Devak.  Her father told Hindustan Times, “It was a mistake to educate my daughter and send her to IIT. I should have saved all the money for her dowry,”

In another statement told to The Hindu, Mr. Devak said that his daughter had tried to end her life in 2015 by slitting her wrists, but the matter was not escalated. “She accepted everything because she was scared for the future of her younger sister and brother; her marriage and his profession,” he said.

Statements were made by Manjula’s friends and supervisor in front of the SDM, stating her academic brilliance. “Her PhD guide was very happy with her. She has published four articles till date. We know there is academic stress but Manjula was doing fine,” one of her colleagues informed HT.

Ellen Berry, posted the Hindustan Times headline’s picture, tweeting, “This headline, in the year 2017, in what will before too long be the world’s most populous country and largest economy.” Ishita Anand, tweeted “And thats why we aren’t progressing beyond the surface: Most people “let” their daughters study but the ultimate aim: Getting her married”

The police have taken her laptop and are scanning her call records. They have launched a preliminary investigation and a sub divisional magistrate is enquiring into Manjula’s death. However, no FIR has been filed yet since the police are waiting for the SDM inquiry, which is required if a woman dies within seven years of her marriage. The allegations levied by Manjula’s family are yet to be verified and the magistrate will be summoning the husband and his family for investigation, though the family has not given any statements.