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Kerala: CPM ‘comrade’ stonewalled by party, police in cruelty case against husband

Express News Service

KANHANGAD: Sahana V P, 35 — the mother of a nine-year-old boy with learning disabilities — is fighting a two-pronged battle. One, to protect the future of her child, and two, to prosecute her husband and his parents and sister for allegedly subjecting her to a “series of cruelty” in their house for six years.

Sahana, who calls herself a comrade, says she has been let down by her party, the CPM, in getting justice. “The party leaders in Nileshwar have ensured the police do not even register an FIR on my complaint filed under Section 498 A (of the IPC),” she alleges.

On October 13, the district police chief’s office received her complaint accusing her husband Manoj Maniyeri, 42, of Pallikkara in Nileshwar, his parents Sukumaran and Shyamala, and his sister Smitha of subjecting her to mental and physical cruelty. After 42 days, Nileshwar police have not yet registered an
FIR. Sahana, who is from Thayineri in Payyannur, says Manoj’s father is a former branch secretary of the CPM and is influential. “Recently, I called the Nileshwar area secretary (of the CPM) and the moment I identified myself, he said the Nileshwar SI had just called him to discuss my case. I was baffled,” she says.

Sahana immediately questioned the party leader on why the police officer should call him when she had filed a private complaint. “The area secretary said the SI called him to help resolve the issue. But I told him I don’t want any compromise and the police should do their job,” she says. She shared the audio of the conversation with TNIE.

When contacted, Kanhangad DySP Dr V Balakrishnan said the complaint was enough to register an FIR as the charges mentioned are cognisable. “I spoke to the SI and he said he would discuss (the issue) with the woman and if she insisted on pressing charges, he would register the FIR,” said the DySP.

Many complainants do not understand the gravity of Section 498 A, which deals with subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or her relatives, he says. “Once an FIR is registered, the relationship can often end in divorce,” he says.

Sahana said she had filed another case for maintenance in the Payyannur Family Court. “We had a hearing today (Wednesday). Manoj has stopped supporting us since November 2020,” she says.

For the past five years, she has been staying in a rented house in Payyannur. She was the only child of Vasumathi V P, who raised her by giving tuitions. Vasumathi died of intestinal cancer in July at the age of 65. Since then, Sahana has been on her own.

To be sure, the CPM in Payyannur had given her Rs 25,500 to pay for her rent and daily expenses and also help the family with her mother’s treatment.

CPM leader and councillor of Perole ward in Nileshwar K P Raveendran said Sahana could come and stay with her in-laws considering that her mother is no more and she is alone. “If there is any problem after that, we can intervene,” he says.

When pointed out that she had alleged she was mentally and physically harassed in the house, Raveendran says it was highly unlikely. “Till now, it was not the case. But now that she has gone to court and police, I don’t know how the family will react,” he says.

Even if an FIR is registered, Manoj — working as an Ayurveda therapist in the UAE — would get bail and after that, what will happen to her, he asks. “We should try to resolve the matter, not aggravate it,” he says.

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