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India: Model Leaves Suicide Note Blaming Husband’s Abuse for Her Hanging

An Indian model was found dead, hanging from a ceiling fan this week. Her suicide note accuses her husband of consistent abuse, calling her marriage the “biggest mistake of her life.”

Authorities in India discovered Priyanka Kapoor, 25, hanging from her ceiling fan at her apartment. Her father contacted the police last Friday when she did not answer her phone.

Kapoor also slit her wrist before she hung herself.

She wrote in her suicide note “that her marriage in January was the biggest mistake of her life and accused her husband of assaulting her.” She married Nitin Chawla, 37, after a whirlwind romance.

Police found him at his home, where they told him about his wife’s suicide. They then arrested him “under sections of dowry death (304B IPC) and harassment for dowry (498 A IPC).” He admitted the couple had problems when police interrogated him.

Section 304B in the penal code states:

1[304B. Dowry death.—
(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or har­assment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death. Explanation.—For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).
(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprison­ment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.]

Section 498A in the penal code states:

376 [498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—
(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.]

Chawla divorced his first wife in order to marry Kapoor.

Kapoor’s sister said the family did not know exactly why Chawla abused her.

“Priyanka told us that her husband had placed a lot of restrictions on her. She was not allowed to meet family and friends,” she explained. “We decided to lodge a police complaint but Nitin’s family requested a mediation at home.”

His father apologized for Chawla’s behavior.

“His mother told my sister that such things happen in a family and there was no need to make an issue of it… Later, Priyanka said if Nitin’s family assured her that it would not happen again, then she was ready to give him a second chance,” she continued.

She also said that Chawla never apologized to Kapoor for the abuse.

During the interrogation, Chawla admitted he suffered from money problems. He could not pay his rent, but Kapoor did not want to leave the apartment.

Her father, Ashok Kapoor, cannot believe his daughter took her own life.

“I can’t believe that she committed suicide. She was so strong… she was an inspiration to others. She was learning Reiki to help others,” he cried. “Priyanka was not a weak person… who would commit suicide.”

He added: “She was taking distance learning courses to complete her graduation. She started working at a call centre so that she could contribute financially to the family… Till now, she was working as an event manager.”

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