An Indian man has been accused of arranging an illegal surgery so that his wife’s kidney could be harvested by doctors and sold after her parents failed to pay him a dowry. The dowry, which he was supposedly promised, was due to be paid after the wedding and was worth £22.50.
28-year-old Rita Sarkar claims that the surgery took place during an operation to remove her appendix. Two years ago she fell ill with abdominal pain and her husband took her to a nearby hospital where she underwent surgery. Afterwards he insisted she not tell anyone, including friends and family, about the surgery although this did not make sense to her.
“Around two years ago, I began suffering from acute stomach ache,” she told reporters, “My husband took me to a private nursing home in Kolkata, where he and the medical staff told me that I would be fine after removing my inflamed appendix through surgery.”
Sarkar’s suspicions were later raised when she continued to experience abdominal pains post-surgery except now the pain had also spread to her lower back. After years of continually experiencing this pain she finally relented and had her own family take her to the hospital. It was there, after some scans, that she was horrified to be told that she only had one kidney.
“I then understood why my husband implored me to keep quiet about the surgery. He sold my kidney because my family couldn't meet his demand for dowry.”
The dowry of 2000 rupees is worth around £22.50 and is a common part of marriage traditions in India, despite it being illegal since 1961.
Sarkar’s husband and his brother have since been arrested for commercial dealings with human organs, although he is adamant that his wife consented to the operation and that the organ’s sale was perfectly legitimate. It is yet to be seen whether he will be found guilty or innocent.
Sarkar will be able to continue living her life with just one kidney, but may experience complications such as high blood pressure, hernias and general abdominal pain, although they are unlikely to lead to death.