Food for thought

Every day, more than 22 women are killed in the country because of dowry. At least 317 women approach the police every day to file an FIR, complaining of harassment and torture by their their husbands and in-laws. These shocking figures have been revealed in Parliament recently by Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi. In a written reply, she said that a total of 24,771 dowry deaths were reported in the country from 2012 to 2014. The number of cruelty cases is 14 times higher, as shown by data from tiol Crime Records Bureau. The situation is particularly bad in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan. Assam too is witnessing a steady increase in dowry death and cruelty cases. There was a time when dowry deaths were almost unheard in Assam, but 170 deaths were reported in the State in 2013 due to dowry causes. This was thirty more than the previous year, so a bad trend is definitely emerging. In some families, the daughter-in-law is being seen as an easy target for extorting money and expensive commodities, taking advantage of her vulnerability as a newcomer to the family. This social evil is getting entrenched here because the society itself is getting more materialistic. The ‘get rich quick at any cost’ mentality feeds upon those who are the weakest and most vulnerable. And in a patriarchal society, women have always been at a disadvantage anyway. It is unfortute that a regressive trend that many other states are battling against, is striking roots in Assam. Among the NE states, Tripura did well in 2013 with the number of dowry deaths coming down from 37 to 29, while there were no such cases reported in Aruchal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur and Mizoram.

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