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Nov 28, 2015
Aradhana is a 30-yr-old woman from Noida in northern India who recently wrote to the Indian Prime Minister about the distress she felt each time a prospective groom turned her down because her family couldn’t give him the dowry he demanded. She wants the Prime Minister to give her financial help to ensure she gets married on Dec 02, as planned, or else she has threatened to commit suicide. Aradhana because of her family’s poverty could not study beyond class 10, and had to help by doing menial jobs. In her letter to the PM she wrote:
“My wedding was fixed several times in the past few years, but it never happened as my family could not meet dowry demands. With great difficulty, my father (a gardener) found a match for me about 10 months ago. He is a driver and lives in Dankaur, Greater Noida. However, I am afraid that this time too my wedding may not take place as it has already been postponed once. If this time something goes wrong, I will kill myself as I don’t want to be a burden on my family. I am trying to educate my siblings but it is tough.”
The question is how should the government help Aradhana? Should the Indian government give her family the dowry money, even though dowry is illegal in India, and the demands keep escalating and thousands of women get killed even after paying dowry? Or should the government take legal action against this and all the prospective grooms and their families for making an illegal and criminal demand? If Aradhana is bent on paying dowry to get married, will either of these steps prevent her from getting killed?
26 Nov, 2015, UP,
26-year-old Pinki was burnt to death for dowry by her husband and in-laws in Rudauli village. A case has been registered against Pinki’s husband Ram Samujh Nishad and his mother by the victim’s mother at Aserwa police station. Police say investigations are on. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/26-year-old-woman-burnt-to-death-over-dowry-115112900774_1.html
More than 106,000 women were estimated to be burnt to death for dowry in one year. Most of these cases are dismissed as accidents and suicides and the women never get justice. Read the report here: https://genderbytes.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/video-murder-by-fire-100000-women-a-year/
Maharashtra, 4 Nov 2015
35 year old Sakhu Dangda was beaten to death by her husband for refusing to cook the mutton dish he wanted for dinner.
An Indian college student, Nikita Azad, started an online campaign ‘Happy to Bleed,‘ to protest against extreme cultural taboos that menstruating girls and women are subject to in India. She launched the campaign after a temple announced that women would be allowed to enter only after the invention of a machine to detect whether or not they are having their periods! Many young women have supported this campaign by posting photos of themselves with menstrual pads or tampons and signs with the hashtag #HappyToBleed. Some Hindu temples in India have notices displayed prohibiting menstruating women. Of course there is no way to tell whether or not a woman is menstruating, and many Hindu women voluntarily don’t enter when they are menstruating. A few years ago, a prominent actress was arrested and taken to court, because she confessed to someone that she had on one instance entered a temple while she was menstruating. Read that post here https://genderbytes.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/is-it-a-crime-to-menstruate/
West Bengal, 24 Nov 2015
Three days after a 16-year-old school girl was gang-raped and killed in Kakdwip, a West Bengal district, police finally filed a complaint. The police move came after a public interest litigation was filed before the Calcutta High Court seeking a CID probe, and the victim’s family and locals staged demonstrations and refused to cremate the body accusing the police of refusing to register a rape case despite receiving a complaint.
A group of young people in the Nawabpet village of Telangana in Southern India, have started an effective anti-dowry campaign in their village. Instead of preaching to men to not take dowry, which is usually the method used by most anti-dowry campaigns, and that have not proved very successful so far, what these young people are doing is asking married men who took dowry, to return the money. The campaign is called ‘Katnam Vaapasi’ (repay dowry). On 21st October, 2015, inspired by the movement 10 men in the village, some of who had married 5 years ago, returned the money they had taken from their wife’s family in dowry. The village women congregated in large numbers to witness the event. They said they were happy about the campaign which they hoped will bring peace to their lives. Dowry is illegal anyway, and more than 106000 women are killed for dowry in India. Perhaps this is the only effective way forward for India in the fight against dowry.
LINKS ON DOWRY
106,000 Women burnt to death for dowry in one year
News Reports on Dowry Violence and Murders
Gurdaspur, 31 Oct 2015,
In a case, like so many in India, Jaspinder Kaur, is said to have committed suicide due to dowry harassment. Her uncle said the in-laws had been demanding a car in dowry and used to beat her up. She was married to Gurmukh Singh, a resident of Kang village, three years ago. Her husband went abroad recently. Police say, unable to bear the harassment, she ended her life by hanging herself from the ceiling fan. Based on the complaint, police have registered a case against her father-in-law Baldev Singh and mother-in-law Gurmeet Kaur, who are absconding. Many dowry related murders, are often staged as suicides and with shoddy police work, these cases are rapidly dismissed as suicides or accidents.