Reports of dowry deaths shock many in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, June 22 (IANS) A few suicide deaths of young women within months of marriage that have been reported in Kerala in the past few days has come as a shock to many and dowry appears to be the villain.
The first case was reported on Monday when a final year student of Ayurveda allegedly hanged herself at her husband’s home in Kollam district. The reason that has now come out according to her parents is that her husband Kiran Kumar, a 27-year-old Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspector, was unhappy with the brand new car that was given along with 1.20 acre of land and 100 sovereigns of gold.
Their marriage took place last year.
“She had told us that she was being harassed constantly as the new car (costing over Rs 10 lakhs) had low mileage and he wanted to sell the car and buy a new luxury car,” said the mother of the young girl.
“We were shocked to hear about her death and much to our surprise the mark on her neck was very low. What we are being told is that in a hanging case, either motion or urine is seen. In my daughter’s case, everything appears to be mysterious,” said her father.
Kumar’s mother said that on Sunday night our son asked us to come quickly.
“When we reached their home she was lying on the floor and he was trying to give her artificial respiration. We saw her eyes opening and there was life. Soon he took her to the hospital and then we heard the news that she had died,” said Kiran’s mother.
The police meanwhile has arrested Kumar and he admitted to causing her bodily injuries, but on the day she died no such thing had happened.
Meanwhile Kumar has been suspended from service after former Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala asked the State Transport and Motor Vehicle Minister Antony Raju to take appropriate action.
In another case, a 24-year-old girl ended her life by setting herself on fire and her 26-year-old husband Suresh was taken into custody as he was seen with a bottle of fuel.
This incident occurred near Kovalam, in the state capital city.
Here too the villain is now reported to be dowry as the deceased’s mother said the boy’s family was demanding more dowry.
The marriage took place last year.
In a third case that surfaced on Tuesday a 19-year-old girl was found hanging in her husband’s home at Alappuzha.
At the time of the incident, only the girl’s husband’s parents were there. The police have started a probe.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said that it is a real shame in literate Kerala that dowry deaths are taking place.
“There has to be a change of attitude because it appears that women are just meant to be raised and then married off. This attitude should change and for that the state government should act. We will support the state government fully in its efforts,” said Satheesan.
Minister for Animal Husbandry J. Chinchurani who also hails from Kollam district said strict action will be taken by the police and the mother of Kumar will also be made an accused.
State police chief Loknath Behera said that the police will act strictly and will take appropriate action after a thorough probe in these cases.
Senior BJP leader P.K. Krishnadas said Parliament has passed the anti-dowry law but in Kerala no action has been taken by the state government.
“For long we have been hearing that dowry should not be taken or given and this is a criminal offence, but there has been no action taken by this Left government. In fact in 2018 the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by V.S. Achuthanandan had submitted a report also, but nothing has happened. We want Pinarayi Vijayan to come out with how many cases have been registered in this regard and what action has been taken,” said Krishnadas, a former state BJP president.

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