Thiruvananthapuram: In wake of a spate of suicides by young women in the previous month and the day-long fast undertaken recently by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, a new Kerala government order has asked all state government employees to give an affidavit to their departmental heads that they have neither taken or given dowry.
The new order, issued by the Woman and Child Welfare Department, directs all the heads to ensure that they submit a report to this effect to the department every six months.
Following the spate of suicides last month by young women after being harassed for dowry, the Kerala government appointed a Chief Dowry Prohibition officer and the new order was handed out to District Collectors, Women and Child development officers and Women Protection officers.
Incidentally, soon after the various reports of suicides came out last month, a note by the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in 2014, had turned viral.
In the Facebook note, he says the rules about dowry are quite clear - that it first was mentioned in the 1961 Kerala Government Servants Contract Rules and through an amendment in 1976, it was made more clear, holding that government servants are banned from giving or taking dowry.
Chandy said that, in 2014, he further tightened these rules when a fresh directive came wherein each and every government official who gets married has to give an affidavit to his head of department that he has not taken any dowry.
Even though giving or taking dowry is banned, today the going rates of dowry, cutting among religions, continues unabated and among Christians, even though the amount of gold is very less, hard cash has to be given and a doctor with a post-graduate degree can easily get anything above Rs one crore in cash, and of late, women are given a share of the property of their parents.
Among Hindus, it is gold and 100 sovereigns of gold is a common feature and then comes the share of the properties, and not to mention about pocket money given to the bridegroom by the bride’s parents.
In the Muslim community also, things are no different.