For years, she had stood his drunken violence. But on Thursday night, seeing him try to rape their 13-year-old daughter was the last straw for Usha Rani, 40. Picking up her son’s cricket bat, she delivered several blows on his head with all the force she could muster.
Jothibasu, 45, died in the Madurai Government Hospital.
Hours after confessing to the crime, Usha Rani walked free. The local police, after all, had been acquainted with the couple’s troubled life.
Married for nearly 20 years, the couple had three daughters and a son. Jothibasu used to odd jobs for a living and had a history of violent behaviour.
After repeated episodes of domestic violence, the couple began living separately since 1995. But every time he came back home, Usha Rani had to lodge complaints with the police owing to his misbehaviour.
In 2007, they separated for the last time. But a fortnight ago, Jothibasu returned home for good, promising the police that he would live peacefully with his family.
All went well till Thursday. That evening, after a heavy bout of drinking, Jothibasu began beating his wife. But when he tried to force himself on their daughter, Usha Rani decided it was more than she could tolerate.
Confirming that Usha Rani has been let off, Madurai superintendent of police Asra Garg said preliminary investigations showed the woman had committed the crime in self defence.
“Jothibasu’s relatives are free to challenge the decision, but we will fight it out in court if it comes to that,” Garg said. There was no doubt that the woman had no alternative, he added.