Dr Shahna dowry suicide kerala
Screengrab of condolence poster released by Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram Image Credit: Social media

Thiruvananthapuram: Police in the south Indian state of Kerala on Thursday arrested a medical student, days after his fiancee, a 26-year-old woman doctor, allegedly died by suicide. Relatives said the woman was traumatised as her wedding was in jeopardy over dowry demand.

Dr Ruvaiz, a post-graduate medical student, was taken into custody near Kollam. The relatives of the woman, identified as Shahana, accused Ruvaiz and his family of demanding a considerable dowry.

Police have charged Ruvaiz with abetment to suicide under the Dowry Prohibition Act. A case of unnatural death has been registered, and a probe is underway.

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A post-graduate student at the surgery department of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, Shahana was reportedly in a relationship with Ruvaiz for a year, and the two decided to marry. After early disenchantment, the two families agreed to the wedding, but matters soured over dowry.

Shahana’s relatives offered five acres of land and a car. The fiance’s family is said to have deemed it insufficient and demanded a significantly higher dowry, including a BMW car, 15 acres of land and a considerable amount of gold.

Ruvaiz backed out of the marriage after Shahana’s family could not fulfil the dowry demand due to financial constraints, according to Shahana’s relatives. Shahana’s brother said his sister was in a state of shock.

Shahana was found dead in her apartment near the hospital Tuesday morning after she failed to turn up for duty the previous night. A suicide note recovered by the police led to the speculation that the dowry demand triggered the suicide.

Her note read: “Everyone wants money, money triumphs everything...”

State Women’s Commission to act strongly

Kerala State Women’s Commission Chairperson P. Sathidevi said they will take robust action if the allegations leading to Shahana’s death are proved true.

“The news of the death of Shahana is really painful. We will look into all aspects and take appropriate action. The youth should strongly speak up against dowry,” said the top CPI-M leader and former MP.

Minister orders probe

State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was appalled that such an incident happened, especially among doctors. “In such a scenario, girls should show the door to the groom and his family and call off the marriage. The government views this case very seriously,” he added.

Health Minister Veena George called for a report on the suicide of Shahana, who hails from Kerala’s capital, Thiruvananthapuram.

The medical college principal suspended Ruvaiz, who was also removed from the presidency of the Kerala Medical Post Graduate Association (KMPGA).

Dr Nidhin, secretary of the KMPGA, said they backed Shahana’s family and demanded a fair probe. “We are firmly with Shahana’s family. Ruwaiz has been removed from the post for a free and fair probe. We respect the public sentiment,” he added.