Rani, 36, married Sivaraman in 1979. Despite their three children, Sivaraman refused to give her any money to run the household. When Rani decided to walk out and take up a job in a small export firm to support herself and her children, Sivaraman flung acid on her.
R. Indrani, 22, married D. Subramani in 1995. Indrani's family paid a Rs 50,000 bribe to get him a permanent job at the state transport corporation as driver. They also gave her 10 sovereigns of gold. But within the first two years of their marriage, Subramani had spent all the money and began demanding that Indrani sleep with his wealthy friends. "Unless you cooperate," he told her, "I'll torture you." Soon after, he slashed her thighs and private parts with a razor. On November 8, 2000, he poured kerosene on her, but before he could light the match, Indrani rushed out of the house to seek her neighbours' help and reached her brother's house.
S. Vijayalakshmi, 18, fell in love with Babu Nagaraj, married him in October 1999 only to discover that he already had a wife who had been thrown out as she hadn't brought Babu enough dowry. A year later, Babu and his mother poured kerosene on Vijayalakshmi and set her ablaze, following demands for more dowry.
Their amazing regularity might have inured the public to such instances, but the one thing that marks out the above cases is that they all happened in Chennai. Something that seems to confirm the latest findings of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)—Chennai reported the maximum number of crimes against women in 1999, 3,560 against the 2,428 recorded in the 'more' unsafe Delhi.
Grievous crimes against women are still pretty high in Delhi: it accounted for 32.9 per cent of the rape cases, 43.2 per cent of kidnappings and abduction of women, 17.4 per cent of dowry deaths and 23.3 per cent of molestation cases reported from...