Kerala medico’s death over dowry: Two days after fiancé’s arrest, police name his father as co-accused

The victim's mother and brother stated that Ruwaise's father demanded an exorbitant dowry that was beyond their means.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 09, 2023 | 4:35 PMUpdatedDec 09, 2023 | 4:36 PM

Shahana

The Medical College Police in Thiruvananthapuram have booked the father of Dr Ruwaise EA —  arrested for abetting the suicide of his fiancée —  for his alleged involvement in demanding an exorbitant dowry.

Dr Ruwaise’s father Abdul Rasheed was arraigned as a co-accused under the Dowry Prohibition Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the police said.

“He was made a co-accused in the case under similar sections imposed against Ruwais. We are yet to take him into custody,” a senior police officer told PTI.

Though the police tried to record Rasheed’s statement on Friday, he was not present at his residence in Karunagapally, Kollam.

Dr Ruwais, the deceased Dr AJ Shahana’s fiancé, was arrested on Thursday, 7 December, and sent to 14 days in judicial custody by a local court.

Exorbitant dowry demand

Earlier, Dr Shuhana’s mother and brother had given statements against Dr Ruwaise’s father and accused him of demanding an exorbitant dowry.

The police said Dr Shahana was depressed over the hefty dowry demanded by Dr Ruwaise and his father. Dr Ruwaise backed off from the marriage since Dr Shahana’s family could not meet the dowry demand, and even blocked her phone number, which might have forced her to take the extreme step.

Dr Ruwaise’s family allegedly demanded a BMW car, 150 sovereigns of gold, and 15 acres, whereas Dr. Shuhana’s relatives offered 50 sovereigns and ₹50 lakh.

Related: Young doctor’s death over alleged dowry demand sparks debate in Kerala

Suicide note

A note recovered from the apartment, purportedly written by Dr Shahana, mentioned the name of Dr Ruwaise, the accused, and his role in her suicide, the remand report said.

The young medico wrote in the suicide note “It is true that my family cannot provide one-and-a-half kilograms of gold and acres of land if they ask for the same.”

Dr Shahana also wrote that Dr Ruwaise intended to ruin her life by promising to marry her, and she was ending her life due to their desire for a dowry, the police said.

Dr Shahana was a student in the surgery department of the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram. She was found unconscious in her apartment and later declared dead on arrival at the hospital on Tuesday, 5 December.

She died of an anaesthesia overdose.

Meanwhile, reports said Dr Shahana’s suicide note ran into four pages, and not a single page brief one scribbled on the back of an out-patient registration slip.

The probe on the matter

Earlier, Dr Shahana’s brother Dr Jasim Nas said, “Ruwais finally told her that money was more important to him, which shocked Shahana.”

On Wednesday, the government ordered a probe into the death of Dr Shahana after allegations of dowry-related issues causing the suicide cropped up.

The state Health Department, meanwhile, suspended Dr Ruwise from the medical college. The Indian Medical Association, too, suspended him.

The police said he had deleted all WhatsApp messages, and efforts were on to retrieve them. Dr Ruwaise has been charged with abetment to suicide under the relevant sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

According to official sources, Dr Ruwaise was a resident trainee physician and the state president of the Kerala Medical Post-Graduate Association. The association ousted him soon after the incident.

The state Minority Commission also intervened in the issue and initiated a case on its own based on media reports.

Also read: Why nuanced criticism is so hard to voice in progressive’ Kerala

‘Dowry demands should be rejected’

People from various walks of life, including Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan, expressed shock over the suicide of the young doctor and strongly condemned the practice of dowry.

Reacting on the matter, Vijayan said that young women should be encouraged to reject proposals where dowry demands are made and that public opinion has to change concerning the practice.

“If someone demands dowry, they (women) should be able to strongly reject such proposals. Society and families need to support them for that,” he said on Thursday.

State Women’s Commission Chairperson P Sathidevi visited Shahana’s residence in nearby Venjaramoodu and consoled her mother on Wednesday.

Expressing grief and concern over the alleged suicide of the young doctor, Sathidevi said stringent measures should be taken if the mental agony caused by the dowry demand had forced her to take the extreme step.

In response to a message from South First earlier, Health Minister Veena George said the government would discuss an anti-dowry action plan. She also requested a report on similar cases brought to the attention of the Department of Women and Child Development.

The police records said Kerala has reported eight dowry deaths since 1 January this year.

Related: Dowry death: Dr Shahana mentioned fiancé Dr Ruwaise’s name

(With PTI inputs)