The suicide of an Indian-origin woman in New York – citing abuse by her husband for “only giving birth to daughters” – has triggered angry conversations about stigma in the community. Mandeep Kaur, 30, says in a video shared on Instagram, “I endured it all, hopefully one day he will mend his ways.”
“It has been eight years; I can’t beat everyday anymore,” the mother of two daughters – aged 4 and 2 – says repeatedly, crying. Speaking in Punjabi, she accuses her husband and in-laws of “forcing” her to commit suicide. “Dad, I’m about to die, please forgive me.”
Kaur, who hails from Bijnor in UP, married Ranjodhbir Singh Sandhu in 2015 and moved to the US. Her family in Bijnor said today that they too were hopeful that the abuse would end someday. Now they have sought help from the government to bring his body to India.
Several videos of abusing husband are going viral, in one of which daughters can be heard screaming. In another, recorded on a security camera inside the house, she tries to stand up for herself – “I refuse to take this any more” – but he beats her until she apologizes. NDTV could not independently verify these videos, which are believed to have been sent to friends.
In a video detailing the abuse, she speaks of her family’s reaction after she “held me captive in a truck for five days”. “My father filed a police case against him. But he begged and asked me to save him… and I did.” She also alleged extramarital affairs, saying that her family “said nothing … in return enabled violence”.
So far no information has been received about any legal action against the husband or his family in India or the US.
The video was shared on Instagram by The Kaur Movement, an organization that works for victims of sexual and domestic abuse, focusing on the Sikh community. The clips were also shared on Facebook on Twitter by many who commented on the “family and social structure”.
There are major problems in our family and social structure that we easily ignore or refuse to acknowledge. #domestic violence One such serious problem is against women. Suicide by an NRI Punjabi woman by Mandeep Kaur is a wake-up call to acknowledge the problem and fix it accordingly. pic.twitter.com/F8WpkiLCZY
— Gurshamshir Singh (@gurshamshir) 5 August 2022
The questions are being raised on a large scale online and offline amid angry reactions.
Protesters demanding justice gathered outside his home in Richmond Hill, New York. Some workers from Punjab also went to Bijnor and met his family.
On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, people from several countries – Sikh and Punjabi diaspora in particular – used the hashtag #JusticeForMandeep. Many posts said that society has failed him. Some people, in turn, put up videos condemning “make it bigger than this”.
UK-based NGO Sikh Women’s Aid, which also works against abuse within the Sikh and Punjabi communities, issued a statement expressing grief: “She describes a life of abuse, humiliation and violence.”