One woman dies every hour in India over dowry: report

Published September 5, 2013
An in-law accused of dowry crimes sleeps at a communal cell in Tihar Jail's dowry wing, in Asia's largest prison in New Delhi, India. — Photo by AP
An in-law accused of dowry crimes sleeps at a communal cell in Tihar Jail's dowry wing, in Asia's largest prison in New Delhi, India. — Photo by AP

NEW DELHI: One woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes, indicating that the country's economic boom has made demands for dowries even more persistent, women's rights activists said.

The National Crime Records Bureau says 8,233 women were killed across India last year because of disputes over dowry payments given by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage.

The conviction rate in dowry-related crimes remained a low 32 per cent, according to statistics the bureau published last week. I ndian law prohibits the giving or receiving of a dowry, but the centuries-old social custom persists.

Dowry demands often continue for years after the wedding. Each year, thousands of young Indian women are doused with gasoline and burned to death because the groom or his family felt the dowry was inadequate.

Women's rights activists and police said that loopholes in dowry prevention laws, delays in prosecution and low conviction rates have led to a steady rise in dowry-related crimes. Dowry demands have become even more insistent and expensive following India's economic boom, Ranjana Kumari, a women's rights activist, said.

She blamed a growing culture of greed as India opens its economy to foreign goods that the younger generation cannot afford but badly want. ''Marriages have become commercialized. It's like a business proposition where the groom and his family make exorbitant demands. And the wealthier the family, the more outrageous the demands,'' Kumari said.

Suman Nalwa, a senior New Delhi police officer dealing with crimes against women, said dowry practices extended to all classes in society. ''Even highly educated people don't say no to dowry,'' she said.

Opinion

Editorial

Course correction
Updated 24 Feb, 2024

Course correction

PTI should not abandon its power and responsibility while expecting an external stakeholder to set things right.
The plot thickens
24 Feb, 2024

The plot thickens

THE recent explosive allegations by Liaquat Ali Chattha, the former commissioner of Rawalpindi, have thrust the...
Trigger-happy police
24 Feb, 2024

Trigger-happy police

ARE the citizens of Karachi becoming fair game again? There were some grisly signs of a rapid return to living...
What next for PTI?
Updated 23 Feb, 2024

What next for PTI?

THE incoming government has been carved up. With the major offices apportioned between the PML-N and PPP, the...
Tackling debt
23 Feb, 2024

Tackling debt

MANY would tend to describe a new report warning that the country is headed for “inevitable default”, which will...
Imprisoned abroad
23 Feb, 2024

Imprisoned abroad

THE issue of Pakistani prisoners imprisoned in foreign jails crops up regularly, particularly during parliamentary...