“Her husband had tortured her for years and demanded a son. But she said she wouldn’t leave him because 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 on August 4 in the US after describing her ordeal in a video.
In the video, which has gone viral, she says in Punjabi: “It’s been eight years. I can’t take any more daily blows now… Dad, please forgive me. I’m dying.”
Her family in the Bijnor district of UP now fears her two daughters — ages 6 and 4 — and wants them to be taken away from their father, Ranjodhbeer Singh Sandhu, whose family is also from Bijnor. “We need to get their custody. I will raise them like a mother,” her younger sister, Kuldeep Kaur, told The AU Times today.
Her father, Jaspal Singh, has filed a suicide report against the husband at the police station here, also mentioning his parents, who live in a nearby village. “In New York, our relatives are talking to the police,” he said, asking the Indian government for help.
Later in the day, India’s consulate general in New York tweeted: “We are in contact with US authorities […] We are ready to provide any assistance.”
We are deeply saddened by the death of Mandeep Kaur in Queens, New York under very tragic circumstances. We are in contact with US authorities at the federal and local levels and with the community. We are ready to provide any assistance.@IndianEmbassyUS@MEAIndia
— India in New York (@IndiainNewYork) August 6, 2022
The father said the family was aware of the abuse from the start. “Immediately after the marriage he started torturing her. Things 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 a few years ago after she sent me a video of him beating her. But then she said she didn’t want any further action. She told the court she had forgiven him,” he said.
“When she told us she was concerned about her daughters, we understood. We were also concerned, thinking about how she would raise the children on her own. Where would she go? Like them, we also thought that the man should be given another chance. But shortly after, he started torturing her again,” he added.
“One time she told me not to interfere. I got mad and told her not to get me involved anymore. She hasn’t told me much since then,’ he said.
The marriage of Mandeep Kaur and Ranjodhbeer Singh, who hail from farming families, was arranged in 2015. He was a truck driver in the US and three years later she moved there. After her death, there has been no response from the husband or his family, and no confirmed information about legal action in the US.
Mandeep Kaur’s family claimed 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,” the father said.
Her sister said, “I couldn’t believe she could do this, even after watching the video. We heard at 5:30 in the morning that she was dead. We didn’t know what to do. We felt powerless.”
“I want her husband to receive the most severe punishment possible. He should get the death penalty. I appeal to the Indian government to help us get justice,” she added.
Sandeep Singh, Kaur’s older brother, claimed, ‘Even her in-laws kept calling her and demanding a male child. They got scared when we started a case in New York, but she helped him get out after they begged her. They came to her mind.”