You may all have seen the film Devdas where actors Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit put up a splendid show. While Devdas got written off as a romantic harmless drunkard, another aspect that should have been added was that he too was a jealous woman beater. Angered that Paro (played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) could be so pretty and that she could get married to just about anyone else he hits and scars her face so that she no longer has perfect beauty.

In real life that is what men who attack women with acid do. Since the obsessive stalker does not get the girl, he acts selfishly and tries to disfigure her for rejecting his advancements.

Something of the same sort happened in Bengaluru as well. A woman has approached the Bengaluru police’s women’s helpline claiming that she has been a victim of domestic violence ever since she married and that in the latest instance, her jealous husband shaved off all her hair and scarred her face because he suspected her fidelity. He did this so that she would no longer seem attractive to other men.  

An official of the city’s woman helpline has been quoted by TNIE in which she narrated the woman’s tale of abuse. Sridevi and Raghu (names changed) have been married for over seven years; the couple have a son and now are residents of KG Halli. While Sridevi worked at a private firm and Raghu owns an automobile shop. Immediately, after marriage he began to be suspicious about Sridevi and forced her to quit her job accusing her of being overly friendly with her male colleagues.

Sridevi resisted Raghu’s demands, but his behaviour towards her took a turn for the drastic and petty fights began to be the norm in their life. Soon, tired of the daily bickering and understanding the jealous, possessive man she had been married to, she quit her job.

She told the helpline officials that even that did not stop his violent behaviour and suspicion. Things came to such a pass that Raghu now began to physically harm her. While leaving for work, he would in some way or the other assault her. Sometimes by shaving off her hair or by scarring the visible parts of her body and even locking her up. He also prevented her from using a mobile phone and continued to assault her at every opportunity he got. This treatment, she alleges, had been continuing for the past three years.

Naturally, the next question would be “Why did it take Sridevi so long to reach out?”. Sridevi’s answers echo what most Indian women have engrained in their psyche. Sridevi had been raised by her grandmother, now 70, who took her in after her parents died. She approached her guardian, but the old lady refused to see any merit in Sridevi’s complaints and so, with no one to turn to, she approached the women’s police helpline.

KG Halli police are yet to receive a formal complaint in this regard but from the women’s helpline end, Sridevi and her son have been sent to stay with her grandmother until the case proceeds.