As many as 19 women ended their lives for various reasons in the last three months in the district, showing a distressing spurt in suicides by women.
Most of the suicides were reportedly due to harassment for additional dowry and occurred in middle class families, while some of the victims ended their lives for small reasons like differences with spouses or disputes over petty issues.
According to official sources, 1,789 complaints were received, of which 1,290 were registered at various police stations in 2009. The following year, the number of complaints was 1,790 and there were 1,800 complaints last year. However, the number has already touched 1,800 this year, of which 412 complaints were registered till date. A sizeable number of suicides were not reported to the police, with the intervention of family elders or neighbours to avoid legal hassles. It is also alleged that some murders were shown as suicides in police records under pressures.
The tragic incidents include the suicide of Talapaneni Kasi (30) of Kethigunta in Marripadu mandal, who ended her life by consuming poison, unable to bear harassment by her husband and in-laws on June 15. P Madhavi (24) set herself afire due to family disputes here on July 5.
A Penchalamma (35), of Kandali village in Gudur rural mandal, set herself a ablaze along with with her two daughters recently as her husband did not stop consuming liquor.
The women of Nellore district, in general, are better placed educationally, socially and economically, compared to many other districts in the state, but the suicides reveal that they are equally vulnerable and fall victim to illtreatment.
“Though most of the suicides were due to dowry harassment and domestic violence, 90 percent of the accused in these cases had been acquitted for want of evidence,” Mahala police station SI Kailasanath has said. An official, on condition of anonymity, said the only solution was to bring better awareness among women on their rights. Most of the sufferers do not stand firm till they get justice. Many compromise or end their lives, he said.
“It is unfortunate that the women take such extreme steps instead of taking the support of women’s organisations,” said All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA) district secretary K Vijaya.