“Her husband had been torturing her for years, demanding a son. But she said she won’t leave him as she couldn’t raise her two daughters. We understood,” said the father of Mandeep Kaur, a 30-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh who died by suicide in the US on August 4 after detailing her ordeal in a video.
In the the video, which has gone viral, she says in Punjabi, “It’s been eight years. I cannot take daily beatings now… Papa, please forgive me. I am going to die.”
Her family in UP’s Bijnor district is now scared for her two daughters — aged 6 and 4 — and want them taken away from their father, Ranjodhbeer Singh Sandhu, whose family is also from Bijnor. “We should get their custody. I will raise them like a mother,” her younger sister, Kuldeep Kaur, told NDTV today.
Her father Jaspal Singh has filed a case of suicide abetment against the husband at the police station here, also naming his parents, who live in a nearby village. “In New York, our relatives are talking to the police,” he said, asking the Indian government to help.
Later in the day, the consulate general of India in New York tweeted, “We are in touch with the US authorities […] We stand ready to render all assistance.”
We are deeply saddened by the death of Mandeep Kaur in Queens, New York under most tragic circumstances. We are in touch with the US authorities at Federal and local level as well as the community. We stand ready to render all assistance.@IndianEmbassyUS@MEAIndia
— India in New York (@IndiainNewYork) August 6, 2022
The father said they knew of the abuse since the beginning. “Immediately after the marriage, he started torturing her. It got worse after she gave birth to a daughter; and much worse after another daughter.”
The family went to the police once. “We filed a case in New York some years ago, after she’d sent me a video in which he was beating her. But then she said she didn’t want further action. She told the court she had forgiven him,” he said.
“When she told us she was worried about her daughters, we understood. We were also worried, thinking how she would raise the kids alone. Where would she go? Like her, we too thought the husband should get another chance. But he started torturing her again soon after,” he added.
“Once she told me I shouldn’t interfere. I got upset and told her not to involve me anymore. Since then she didn’t tell me much,” he said.
From farming families, Mandeep Kaur and Ranjodhbeer Singh’s marriage was arranged in 2015. He was a trucker in the US, and she shifted there three years later. After her death, there is no reaction yet from the husband or his family, and no confirmed information about legal action in the US.
Mandeep Kaur’s family alleged that he demanded Rs 50 lakh to raise the daughters. “He told her he could barely repay the loan for his truck, so she should get the money for the daughters’ expenses,” said the father.
Her sister said, “I couldn’t believe she could do this, even after watching the video. We got to know at 5.30 in the morning that she’s dead. We didn’t know what to do. We felt helpless.”
“I want her husband to get the strictest punishment possible. He should get the death sentence. I appeal to the Indian government to help us get justice,” she added.
Sandeep Singh, Kaur’s elder brother, alleged, “Even her parents-in-laws kept calling her and demanding a male child. They got scared when we filed a case in New York, but she helped him get away after they begged her. They got into her mind.”