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

The National Commission for Women (NCW) expressed deep concern over the death of the young doctor in Thiruvananthapuram, Dr Shahana (26), who allegedly died by suicide due to dowry demands. The commission requested a detailed action report from the Kerala police, to be sumbitted within five days.

The commission has urged the police to invoke relevant sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the FIR if allegations are verified.

"NCW is deeply concerned by the tragic incident in Thiruvananthapuram where a young doctor died by suicide allegedly due to dowry demands. The reported incident falls under sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act and IPC. We urge invoking these provisions in the FIR if allegations are verified. The arrest of the accused and his relatives is essential. Society's responsibility in safeguarding women's rights is crucial. A detailed action taken report is requested within 5 days from the Police," the commission posted on X.

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Suicide note implicates ex-fiance

Shahana was found unconscious at her rented apartment near medical college on Tuesday morning, and was later pronounced dead. A suicide note was also retrieved from the flat.

Shahana's relatives alleged, as did the suicide note, that the accused - identified as Ruwais, a doctor and postgraduate student of Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram Medical College - and his family had asked for a huge amount of dowry including gold, land, and a BMW car to marry Shahana. However, the couple had been in a relationship before the marriage proposal came into play, reports claim.

When the family said they could not afford to accept the demands, Ruwais and his family allegedly decided to drop the alliance. 

The suicide note alluded to the alleged dowry demands. Kerala news agencies reported that Dr Shahana had sent a similar message to Ruwais before her suicide but he reportedly deleted these messages after news of her death broke. Police told media that they had confiscated the phone. 

Ruwais was arrested, reports said on Thursday, and has been charged with abetment to suicide under sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Manorama News reported that Shahana committed suicide by overdosing on anaesthesia.

Ruwais studied in the orthopaedic department while Shahana was in the surgery department of the same college. 

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan said, "We need to create more awareness in society and particularly to our girls. I feel sad that it is happening in Kerala, a state which used to be a matriarchal society where women call the shots. They inherited the property, and here our girls are becoming so vulnerable...This is not only evil but brutish behaviour that you demand money from the girl's family," said Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.

Suspended, ousted from student organisation

Ruwais has been suspended from the college. He was also the State President of Kerala Medical PG association - which has removed the accused from all responsibilities of the organisation.

Earlier, Kerala Health Minister Veena George directed the Director of Women and Child Development department to submit an investigation report into the allegations.

Kerala women's commission chairperson Sathidevi and members visited Shahana's mother at her house . Sathidevi demanded serious investigation on this issue "Women's commission will seek a report from the police. If the boy's family demanded dowry, case will be registered against them under prevention of dowry act, she said.