Looking to “counsel and discipline” his wife, Devbir Kalsi asked his parents to travel from India to his home near Tampa and help imprison and beat his wife. Soon they came, police say.
On Saturday, desperate to save herself, Kalsi’s wife, Silky Gaind, called her parents in India so they could contact local authorities and help launch her rescue. And so they did.
It was that phone call that led to a knock on the door by deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at the home Kalsi and Gaind shared with their 1-year-old daughter. But at around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the knocks at first went unanswered.
Sheriff’s office officials told the Tampa Bay Times that Gaind, 33, eventually came to the door and “screamed for the deputy to save her and her child.” Deputies forced the door open, only to find Devbir Kalsi, 33, straining to push the door closed. Officials found Kalsi’s parents, Jasbir Kalsi, 67, and Bhupinder Kalsi, 61, in the home as well.
Investigators now say that Devbir Kalsi had complained about his wife’s disobedience to his parents, who left their home in Punjab to hold Gaind against her will at the home in the Riverview, Florida. Meanwhile, the beatings continued, and deputies described Gaind as “badly beaten and bruised over her entire body” from abuse that had “been ongoing for an extended period of time,” according to the Tampa Bay Times. Police did not indicate how long the elder Kalsis had been at the home.
An arrest report cited by the newspaper said Devbir Kalsi and Gaind were arguing Friday night when he struck her “repeatedly and forcefully.” Gaind tried to defend herself, only to take more hits to her face, neck and torso from her in-laws. The report said Jasbir Kalsi threatened to stab her with a kitchen knife.
The same report referenced by the Tampa Bay Times said Gaind was holding her young daughter during her fight with her husband, and that the child was hit in the face as a result. Deputies said Kalsi then took away his wife’s phone, dragged her into another room and had his parents lock her inside.
Online arrest records from the sheriff’s office said Devbir Kalsi, who is described as employee of electronics company Jabil Circuit, is currently in jail and faces charges of felony battery, false imprisonment, harassing a witness and child abuse.
His father is also in jail and has been charged with child abuse, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, harassing a witness and false imprisonment. Kalsi’s mother faces charges of domestic violence battery and failure to report child abuse.
All three were arrested and booked on Saturday, according to online records.
No lawyer for any of those charged could be located.
The case has also drawn coverage in the Indian press, with articles from the Times of India and the Hindustan Times. All parties involved are Indian nationals, officials said.
Wife beating is a worldwide scourge. The notion of a man summoning his mother and father to discipline his wife may sound strange to American sensibilities. But it’s a familiar issue in India.
A 2012 UNICEF report said 57 percent of young Indian men said wife-beating was justified. Legal Service India, an online legal resource provider, said domestic violence there is largely propagated by the husband or his relatives.
“Indian mothers-in law are consistently legally implicated in violence against their daughters-in-law, particularly in dowry-related cases,” said a 2013 study called “Violence between Female in-laws in India.”
It linked the problem to “patrilocality,” by which “sons stay within their parents’ home even after marriage, while married women join their husbands in their in-laws household,” often giving mothers-in-law “a vested interest in perpetuating practices of control and power over their daughters-in-law.”
According to the local news channel WFLA, the Florida Abuse Hotline and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were notified of the case. Gaind and her daughter have since been “provided a safe place for refuge.”
WFLA quoted a neighbor, Stephanie Payne, who said the incident left her “both sad and scared.”
“I’m upset that this was all going on right across the street from me and I couldn’t do anything about it and couldn’t help her,” Payne said.
Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, was simply shocked.
“Who beats their wife up and has their mother and dad help him,” the neighbor said. “Who does that?”