Bhoomika Kochhar who recently found dead hanging on the wall of her house on June 15, 2013 is a clear case of Women Exploitation and Domestic Violence. Especially looking at it from the angle of women exploitation then its a case that can teach us so much about the role of domestic violence and abuse.
Bhoomika Kochhar and Akaash Jatia fell in love with each other at Boston University where they both studied for four years under the college’s undergrad programme in 2006. With family disagreement and hesitation, they got married on January 2011. After the marriage, Bhoomika, a resident of Muttontown in New York, shifted to Nepal to live with her in-laws. Their marriage was going through rough edges where Bhoomika was unhappy and depressed.
Domestic Violence (Crime and Punishment) Act, 2066 (2009) of Nepal says, “”Domestic Violence means any form of physical, mental, sexual and economic harm perpetrated by person to a person with whom he/she has a family relationship and this word also includes any acts of reprimand or emotional harm.”
According to the Kochhars, “They claim to spend over $2 million in dowry till date. Bhoomika was physical and mental tortured despite this. She was willing to end her relationship and come back to the US,”
Section 3 (1) of Social Behaviour (Improvement) Act of Nepal states that noone will take or give dowry. Dowry is illegal but its practice is very common in Nepal, especially in Madhesh where marriage is a pompous affair and dowry an integral part of the wedding ceremony.
Similarly, the Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063 (2007) prohibits physical, mental or any other form of Violence against Women (VAW) and declares that such acts shall be punishable by law [Article 20(3)]. It also incorporates a separate article recognizing that women’s rights, including reproductive rights, are fundamental. The Interim Constitution recognizes the right to equality as a fundamental right. It provides that all citizens are equal before law [Article 13(1)].
“Bhoomika was a well educated and sensible person who under such domestic circumstances committed suicide or not is a a question to be investigated. She left her family and opportunity for her husband and became a Nepali citizen. She was mentally and psychologically pressured with high notion of intention where she landed herself to depression in absence of support and love. Her emails clearly state that she was ignored and suppressed by her mother in-laws expectation and needs, where overcoming the verbal abuses and ignorance was a torture for her. One cannot imagine her psychological state in regards to the happenings and her state of mind. Though her act doesn’t justifies the wrong that was happening to her but it highlights the current trend of dowry and psychological pressure that a woman goes through in a family after marriage,” said Sajina Karki a Lawyer.
According to the Police, ” Due to the complication of the case there are many hurdles where the we have not been able to intervene in the case for instance bhoomika’s death was reported after the body was taken to the Hospital, so we are not sure about the position and posture of the bhoomika body. We have to completely rely on the autopsy report. Police have confirmed that they have received three copies of the FIR that Bhoomika’s father had lodged on different dates. In absence of the bhoomika’s Father the police is not able to further investigate properly in the case.”