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concern or threat - unanswerable

MADURAI: A 40-year-old woman who murdered her husband was let off by the police who invoked a section in the Indian Penal Code that offers the right of self-defence to an individual.

The woman had assaulted her husband with a cricket bat when he attempted to molest their daughter. Police said the woman, Usharani (40), of Tirupalai, a mother of four children, had a dispute with her husband Jothi Basu for the past several years. Usharani had also approached the police with complaints against her husband and as recently as February 8, she had lodged a police complaint against Basu. Every time a complaint was made, Basu would apologise and promise not to harass his wife.

Even as the couple had parted ways in 2007 after obtaining a divorce, Basu managed to convince Usharani to live together last year. But again, disputes arose between the couple as Basu started harassing her as well as other family members. Usharani once again decided to stay away from her husband and was living with her mother and children at Tirupalai.

Last Thursday, Basu came to the house and assaulted Usharani. He then attempted to molest his 19-year- old daughter. When Usharani intervened and attempted to shove him away in a bid to protect her daughter, Basu went on a rage and picked up a cricket bat and assaulted her. Left with no other option Usharani then snatched away the bat and hit back at Basu. The man, who suffered a fatal blow, collapsed on the floor and died on the spot.

Subsequently, police conducted a probe wherein she admitted to have murdered her husband and said she had committed the offence only as a means to defend herself and the modesty of her daughter. Madurai SP Asra Garg, who found that the woman had acted only in self-defence, invoked section 100 of the IPC that offers succour under the provision of "right of private defence of the body extending to cause death."


Few days ago one Ms. Usha Rani of Madurai was released Under IPC section 100 b S.P Mr. Asra Garg. A pettion was filled by her father-in-law stating that the above murder was a planned incident and Ms. Usharani had illicit affairs with many men and that the same affairs were the reason behind this murder.

On receiving the petition Ex-Collector Mr. Sagyam has written a letter recommending the case to be forwarded to CB-CID. He also points out to the fact that Usha Rani had illicit affairs and insists on Probing into it with that connection.

Following this few questions were put up by usha rani’s daughter Ms. Raja Priya, They tried to hold a press meet and release it in Madurai and faced with many obstacles. So they sought help in Chennai to hold a press meet. with reference to that a press meet was organized by M.A.S.E.S on 30th august but it could not be carried as scheduled because there were 'multiple' points of view and debate generated amongst a 'section' of people against this initative and this caused obstacle to us.

It was pointed out that the daughter would be faced with hostile situation with 'troubling' questions about the modesty of her mother etc and in the good of the girl it was 'recommended' that it is better to hold the press meet post a fact finding initiative. MASES had also thought of fact finding, but the daughter had plead for an opportunity to speak against the allegations in Mr. Sagyam's report. Hence with the consent of the team involved in Organizing the press meet we went ahead organizing press meet. Later some unforeseen circumstances led to cancelling the meet. This situation does not fail to raise doubts on whether the 'influences' were 'concern' or 'threat'.

However, Rajapriya was going there to consult lawyer and we managed to get the family speak for themselves addressing media at the HighCourt. Later knowing that there were some confusions few reporters had also spoken to me asking what was happening and I did not sense any hostility in it. Then we got an opportunity to speak in NDTV Hindu and that went on air.

Judgement is awaited in this case in few days. Post to that the need for fact finding will be evaluated.

Related Links:

Gender-based Violence
South and Central Asia
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