Forum for harassed mothers-in-law: 200 counselled in a week
Mon Sep 13 2010
Rohit (name changed on request), a resident of Shimla, is a broken man today. The last six months have brewed so much of trouble in his married life that this 31-year-old is still trying to come to terms with the "deception" of his wife. In February this year, when he was away to Panchkula along with his family, including his wife, his house in Shimla caught fire. Police investigations revealed that Rohit's wife was the mastermind behind the inferno and she had taken help of the domestic helps to execute her plan. "Since one of the maids got burnt in the incident, she spilled the beans. My wife had paid them Rs 5,000 and also provided them with petrol to burn the house down," said the `victim' who has been married for four years. The family claims the woman also took away all the money and jewellery that was lying in the house before burning it down. While Rohit has filed a divorce petition in a local court in Shimla, the wife has also given a counter complaint of domestic violence with the police and is now "out on bail".
Rohit and his mother had come all the way from Shimla, after seeking "counselling" over the phone at the local chapter of All India Mothers-in-law Protection Forum, to attend a meeting in Sector 10 on Sunday. "We had read about it in the newspapers and called up. These eights months have been traumatic for us but we want to fight it out now as we have been wronged," said Rohit's mother.
This is not an isolated case coming to the forum. The local chapter, which is only a week old, boasts of about 60 members and also claim to have counselled over 200 harassed mothers-in-law till now. The members had gathered near Stop and Stare, Sector 10, for a weekly meeting.
"A lot of people who sought counselling on the phone came to meet us today. This will be a weekly feature. We want mothers-in-law who are viewed rather infamously as the villain of peace to come up with their tale of woes at the hands of their daughters-in-law," said Manjeet Puri, coordinator of the chapter.
Most of the people who have come to the forum lament the "misuse" of Section 498 A of the IPC, which deals with cruelty against women by husband and his family. These harassed mothers-in-law say most of the conflict pertains to division of wealth and property made by their daughters-in-law; failing to coerce to them leads to slapping of "false" cases of dowry harassment and even domestic violence. "I have a house in Gurgaon where my daughter-in-law is living with my grandson. She wanted that I should transfer the property in her name and when I refused to do so, she filed a case of dowry harassment against us. It has been almost two years that she is staying separately," said one Harminder Kaur.