Rise in dowry deaths in Kerala, a worrying trend

Rise in dowry deaths in Kerala, a worrying trend
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Rise in dowry deaths in Kerala, a worrying trend

Highlights

Despite, tall talk of the gender equality professed by the present LDF government in Kerala, the state is witnessing increasing and alarming number suicides and dowry related deaths in the state.

Despite, tall talk of the gender equality professed by the present LDF government in Kerala, the state is witnessing increasing and alarming number suicides and dowry related deaths in the state. The window dressing that the government is presently engaged to give a healthy colour to women's protection, by launching 'Women-friendly Kerala' sounds extremely hollow and untenable.

The chairperson of the Kerala Women's Commission, M C Josephine's resignation under duress for speaking the truth of the plight of the women in Kerala, did not get any support for the CPM cadres, include women members like Sreemathy and others, who joined the male bandwagon to berate Josephine for telling the victims to register a police complaint or prepare to endure, and suffer; was interpreted to be insensitive remarks against aggrieved women by the CPM, who talk about empowering women, and giving the same status and respect as men .

The spate of suicides by women in Kerala is on the increase, of late. The case of two missing women, who were found dead in a river the other day, in connection with the arrest of Reshma, who was suspected to have abandoned her new born child as her relations with her husband had soured beyond redemption. The police called the two ladies to the police station to be questioned - the tactlessness of the police in handling the case is widely believed to be the reason for the women to take the extreme step.

And dowry deaths of two women, who were being regularly and systematically harassed by husbands relatives, and in one case by husband himself, gives a dismal picture of Kerala, where people are regarded to be knowledgeable and educated. It is a pity that marriages in Kerala are ''broker driven, in which the so-called marriage broker is the main liaison between the two families ; and the families seldom go in for the background check of each other's families, which often results in such tragic situations.

Keralites are generally known for constructing better houses than the neighbours, not caring for the financial and economic potential to do so; and the dowry system that is given to the bridegroom in terms of gold and other movable and immovable property is well known. The families that have no capacity do so, too have a longing to be able to live up with others, but miserably default in the promise that becomes a tool for harassment by husband and in-laws, later, which ends up either in suicide or brutal murder.

A recent case of a husband who had done away his wife with snake bite, despite having a child; in order to own her ornaments, with a view to marry another lady, with a similar largesse in waiting, talks of the diabolic mentality and cunningness of society's greed and readiness to make easy wealth and a partner .

It is imperative that harassed women in society must gather courage to tell this to others, and show courage to register a complaint, though this may not be to the liking of husband and his family. The physical torture and ill-treatment that the victims tend to put up with, seems unending that ends only in their death as the brutality continues perpetually. What is the use of the husbands and in-laws being punished and put behind the bars, after a wife's life is snuffed out, without justice being granted to her, while she was alive?

K V Raghuram, Wayanad

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