The woman, 32-year-old Mandeep Kaur, also sent several videos to her family over a period of time, captured on CCTV, documenting the domestic violence she was subjected to. A mother of two girls, she was allegedly tortured for “not being able to produce a male child” as well as for bringing inadequate dowry.
In one of the unverified videos that was widely shared on social media, her husband, Ranjodhbeer Singh, can be seen thrashing her while their two little daughters are wailing in the background, shouting, “Papa, na maro mumma nu (Dad, please don’t hit mom)”.
Kaur, in one of the final clips that she sent to her family in India, said, “My husband assaults me repeatedly. He has illicit relations with several women… (my father) had filed a police case against him back in India but he pleaded and asked me to save him… and I did. At first, I thought he would mend his ways, but the atrocities kept increasing. I cannot bear this anymore. I am going to kill myself… Forgive me, daddy”.
The video sparked anger in both the US and India. It was shared widely by the Kaur Movement, an organisation that works for sexual and domestic abuse victims, focusing mainly on the Sikh community. Soon, there were online campaigns seeking ‘Justice for Mandeep’ and the hashtag was trending on Twitter.
The tragic news of Mandeep Kaur’s suicide in NY due to domestic violence & abuse has left us all shattered. My pray… https://t.co/e4DN8y4aWE
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) 1659797572000
Kaur, who belonged to Taharpur village in Bijnor, and Singh, from neighbouring Badiya, got married in 2015 – both the families engage in farming – before moving to New York in 2018. Once there, Singh started a transport business in Richmond. Kaur was living there on a tourist visa; it is unclear what visa Singh was on. She killed herself on August 1 by hanging.
After the incident, Kaur’s family filed an FIR in Bijnor. SHO Ravindra Singh Verma said, “Police have registered a case against the accused’s father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law under Sections 498A (cruelty), 306 (abetment to suicide), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and sections of the Dowry Prevention Act. The case was registered based on a complaint filed by the victims father”.
A separate case was registered against Singh in New York and he has been arrested there. The complaint filed by Kaur’s father said, “Soon after my daughter’s wedding, Ranjodhbeer and his family members started demanding Rs 25 lakh in dowry. When I could not fulfill their demands, they started torturing my daughter. Talks were held several times to sort things out but the atrocities did not stop”.