Scribe’s Death: Husband Booked

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Kasaragod: ‘I am going to end my life and two people will be the happiest. You and I.’ That is from a suicide note left behind by Reuters page editor Shruthi Narayanan, 37, for her techie husband Anish Koyadan Koroth in Bengaluru. “I am happy because I am escaping this torturous life and you will be happy because you will not have me in your life,” she wrote in the note dated March 20 (Sunday).

Her brother Nishanth Narayanan found her dead in her apartment at Siddapur near Whitefield in Bengaluru on March 22 (Tuesday). He went to check on her because her phone was dead and she did not report for work on Monday night, which had never before happened in her nine years with Reuters.
Nishanth, who also lives in Bengaluru with his wife, said police found three suicide notes in the house. One for the police, one for her husband Anish Koroth, and one for her aged parents Narayanan Periya and Satyabhama in Kasaragod town. 

“In the note for her husband, she wrote that no one will be able to bear his torture for more than 20 minutes, and if he chooses to marry again, marry a deaf and blind woman so that she would not have to hear and see him abusing her,” said Nishanth, who saw the three notes. In the note to the parents, who had retired as high school teachers, Shruthi wrote: “If I live, it will be a reason for sorrow for you every day. But if I die, your sadness will last only for a few days.” 

Based on the suicide note and a complaint filed by Nishanth, the Whitefield police in Bengaluru charged Anish Koroth with abetment to suicide (Section 306 of the IPC) and cruelty by husband (Section 498 A of the IPC). Whitefield Police said Koroth had left Bengaluru for his home in Sreekandapuram near Taliparamba in Kannur district on Saturday (March 19). The police are not able to reach him now. Shruthi and Anish Koroth were married for four years.

Narayanan, a respected environmentalist and social worker in Kasaragod, said he erred in judging his son-in-law. “And my daughter might have thought getting out of the marriage would hurt us and she suffered in silence,” he said. Anish Koroth, like Shruthi, is the child of school teachers. “That was one of the reasons why we decided to go for this alliance. But from day one of the marriage, he and his family were harassing her,” he said. 

Anish did not like Shruthi talking to her family. He had installed hidden cameras and microphones in the house to keep a tab on her, said Nishanth. He would abuse her if she sent money to her mother or gifted a book to her father, he said.  Narayanan said Anish would keep changing jobs and was the last with Bosch in Bengaluru. “But he used to pester Shruthi to change the nominee of the PF account from her mother to his name. Even when there was a procedural delay, he harassed her. She bought a car for Rs 8 lakh. It was her money but he wanted the car to be registered in his name saying he will be driving it,” said Narayanan. On January 15, after a fight, Anish tried to smother her with a pillow, Nishanth said in his complaint to the Whitefield police. 

In February, the two families met at Narayanan’s house at Vidyanagar in Kasaragod for a compromise talk. “I told them we can end this relationship but Anish apologised and promised to mend his ways. But the next day, he dropped Shruthi in our house and went back to his house,” he said.

Shruthi had to report to work the next day so she took a bus to Bengaluru alone. Right from her childhood, Shruthi wanted to become a journalist. “When she was in school, she said she would not write the entrance exams to become a doctor or an engineer,” said Narayanan. 

For five years, she worked as a deputy production editor with Press Association, a news agency of the UK and Ireland, and joined Reuters in 2013. A colleague, who worked with Shruthi, remembered her as a happy person who would “handle challenges herself”. “Maybe that’s why she didn’t take help,” she said.

A colleague said Shruthi would stand up for herself when required. “She had a good sense of self-preservation. But we don’t know how much marriage changed or affected her,” the colleague said.

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