A 45-year-old NRI woman who worked as an IT professional in Australia and arrived in Bengaluru on August 20 to coach her father in dealing with her three-year-old custody battle for her two children – who are Australian citizens – allegedly died by suicide soon after learning that an online hearing for the custody battle was postponed to November. Her body was found on August 22.
The techie did not reach her home in Dharwad after arriving in Bengaluru from Sydney on August 20. She sent a letter to her parents in Dharwad saying she was ending her life over being unable to regain custody of her 17-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter who are in the custody of an Australian communities and justice department.
Her father told the Belagavi police he did not suspect any foul play in her death and that she was distressed over the care of her teenage son who was chronically ill and in the custody of Australian child welfare authorities.
In the letter couriered to her father on August 20, the woman stated that she was ending her life for the sake of her family and children. She accused the New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice and a section of her neighbours of messing up her life.
“She never came home after her arrival in Bengaluru. She sent a parcel with a letter and travelled by bus to Hubbali…” the deceased techie’s father said when contacted.
The woman’s son suffered from ulcerative colitis – a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that is considered an immune disorder – and he had to be hospitalised in Australia three years ago.
“When the child was not getting better even six months after treatment, she filed a legal complaint against the doctors for not providing proper treatment. The doctors got angry and in an act of revenge filed a complaint to child welfare against her saying that it was improper care at home that was causing the illness. The Department of Communities and Justice took custody of both the children three years ago. My daughter was fighting in the courts for getting back the custody of the children,” the father of the deceased said.
According to him, she was feeling harassed and humiliated by the constant failure to regain custody of the children through the courts.
“She wanted to move the children to India as she felt the systems there were not good. She wanted to move the children to an international school in India. In August, we decided to apply for custody of the children. So, we were preparing all the documents about our qualification, background, assets, etc., and a hearing was scheduled for August 22,” the techie’s father said.
“She decided to travel to meet us to train us in handling the hearing. She wanted to rehearse some aspects to be successful in the hearing. When she arrived in India, she learnt that the August 22 hearing had been postponed to November and she was upset. She felt these things were being done intentionally to avoid granting custody,” he added.
In the note addressed to her father, the NRI purportedly stated that the “DCJ messed up our family from 2021 along with residents of… Sydney.” She also reportedly blamed several neighbours and the poisoning of the water in the locality as the cause of illnesses in her family.
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“It is a violation of human rights not to allow a mother or the parents to look after their children. This was the cause of her death,” the woman’s father said. He added that the teenagers were sent to the school of the choice of the Australian authorities and the parents had little say since 2021.
“A lookout notice was issued against her and her children to prevent them from flying out of Australia,” he said.
Following the death, the husband of the woman travelled alone to India to conduct the last rites last week. The children could not travel as they did not have the documents. “My 17-year-old grandson who had been ill for six to seven years is now more stable,” the deceased techie’s father said.
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