The CCTV had captured it clearly: 36-year-old Aarti being thrown out of a moving car in Coimbatore. As onlookers gather, the car speeds away, without stopping to help the woman lying on the road. It is with this footage that Aarti is now trying to get justice for years of torture allegedly at the hands of her husband, Arun Jude Amalaraj, assisted by his father Colonel (Retd) Antony Vincent Amalaraj, and mother Kala Amalaraj.
What has also come to light is the callous and corrupt attitude of a few police officials in Ooty and Coimbatore. It took the intervention of the Superintendent of Police, the top police officer of the district, for a simple FIR to be registered based on her complaint.
Aarti alleges physical abuse from her husband was nothing new for her. Though she does not know the reasons for the abuse, she alleges it started a few days after she married Arun in 2008. Since her father-in-law was a retired colonel, she had high hopes on leading a happy married life. However, it was not to be.
“Abuse was there right from day one of our marriage. But it was very subtle back then,” she tells TNM.
Aarti thought that the problems she was facing from her husband and in-laws were mere hiccups. She hence put up with it and also gave birth to two boys – Dinesh*(9) and Deepan* (4.5). However, it was after the Deepan’s birth that things started getting worse, she says.
“Arun became very irritable and started picking fights with me. His family would gang up against me,” she says.
Husband attacks kids
Aarti says that Arun was abusive to their kids too. She alleges that Arun had once beaten up Dinesh black and blue and she couldn’t send him to school since the bruises were visible.
The behaviour allegedly resurfaced in December 2017, when Arun, Aarti and their sons were in Nashik for vacation and Arun allegedly attacked Deepan and fractured his collar bone.
“Both my kids were traumatised and I filed a domestic violence complaint against Arun in Mumbai in January 2018,” she says. The case is still pending in Mumbai since Arun did not appear even for a single hearing.
Divorce proceedings and mediation
As multiple attempts to salvage her marriage failed, Aarti filed for divorce in October 2018. In the second hearing, both Arun and Aarti were present and mutually decided to go for mediation. Their decision to go to Ooty for a vacation was a part of the decision to start life afresh.
On May 5, the couple left to Ooty accompanied by Arun’s parents, much to Aarti’s discomfort.
“There he started picking some ridiculous fights with Dinesh on stuff like whether Superman has a watch. The arguments kept getting worse and I stepped in to call a truce. The moment I stepped in, he snapped and pushed me on the bed and twisted my arm. It was 10.30 pm when this happened and we were in Ooty where I don’t know anybody,” she says.
Realising that she was not in a position to fight then, Aarti deflated the situation. Before she went to bed, she texted the hotel reception explaining the situation and asking them to be alert in case she needed their help.
Ooty police refused to take her complaint
The next morning, she called the police for help.
“The constable came and evaluated the situation. I wanted to lodge a complaint in Ooty. By the time I reached the B1 police station in Ooty, my husband, his parents and two other gentlemen, who I am sure are quite influential in that area were present in the station. The police refused to take my complaint,” she says.
Since the police were non-cooperative, she told Arun to write an apology letter before they started back to Coimbatore.
The apology letter, which TNM accessed, was written on May 8, 2019. “I am willing to take my wife according to the mediation settlement took place in Mumbai before the family court. My parent won’t involve in my family matters hereafter. I will make alternate arrangements for their travel from Ooty to Chennai,” reads the letter.
Punched and pushed out of the car
On May 9, Aarti got ready to leave to Chennai with Arun as a last attempt to redeem the marriage.
“He came in the car and when I went to the back seat and opened the door, I was surprised to see his parents,” Aarti says. As Aarti and her in-laws engaged in an argument, Arun got down from the driver’s seat and allegedly punched her on her back.
What followed it was a few minutes of horror for Aarti.
“After punching me twice, Arun pushed me down. My upper body was on the floor of the car and legs were outside. He then got back to the driver’s seat and started the car, she says.
“My in-laws pushed me out of the car and I fell down,” she says. Her being pushed out of the moving car was caught by a CCTV camera on that spot.
Antony Vincent Amalaraj
Kovai police and their bizzare initial FIR
The initial sections under which an FIR was registered on Aarti’s complaint did not capture the gravity of the issue.
Sections 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506(ii) (Criminal intimidation) IPC and 4 (Harassment of woman) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment act were the sections under which the FIR was filed.
Getting her hands on the FIR itself was an arduous task for Aarti. Her tweet to the Coimbatore SP finally helped her gain access to her own FIR.
“He was not even aware of CCTV footage of the incident. I told him that I have been showing this to the police since the beginning,” Aarti points out.
The SP’s intervention led to the alteration of the sections to 498(A) (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 307 (Attempt to murder) of IPC. Aarti finally got a copy of the FIR, registered on May 17, almost a week after her complaint.
Speaking to TNM, Sujith Kumar, the SP of Coimbatore said that Arun and his parents are still absconding. “We sent teams to Chennai and Trichy but the family is not traceable as of now. We are trying to find them by other means,” he added.
*Names changed to protect identity
Source: The News Minute