Suraj Lata Devi, Arjuna Awardee and former captain of Indian Women’s Hockey team, on Thursday alleged that she was brutally beaten by her husband over dowry.
In her complaint, Devi has alleged that her husband Shanta Kumar, an ex-employee of Western Railway-Mumbai, tied her up and mercilessly thrashed her for nearly three hours in an inebriated state.
The former hockey captain claimed that her husband wanted a piece of land, for which he raised a demand twice in November last year and “subjected her to physical and mental abuse”. He even asked her to take up voluntary retirement from the post of office superintendent at Western Railway, Mumbai, she said, adding that she was being harassed right from the time they got married in 2005.
“My husband Shanta Singh ridiculed me when I brought all the medals and photos that I had won on the day of my marriage and had remarked what use would it serve?” He also accused her of having won the Arjuna Award because of her “immoral behaviour”, she alleged.
The hockey player maintained that she had been enduring the harassment in the belief that her husband’s behaviour would change. “I never wanted the matter to become public. However, there is always a limit to someone’s patience and tolerance,” she said.
The mother of two remarked that she finally took the decision after her husband in an inebriated condition allegedly assaulted her at Kapurthala in Punjab in November 2019 while she was officiating at a tournament, organised by the Rail Coach Factory in Sultanpur Lodhi.
The former hockey captain hails from Manipur’s ‘Kontha Khabam Makha Leikai’ in Heingnang of Imphal West district, while her husband is a native of Sinjamei in Imphal West district of Manipur.
Devi has led team India to win gold for three consecutive years — during the 2002 Commonwealth Games (the event that inspired the hit 2007 Bollywood film ‘Chak De India’), the 2003 Afro-Asian Games and the 2004 Hockey Asia Cup.