Dubai: A pregnant woman died in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after she was allegedly beaten up, and harassed for dowry by her husband’s family, on Monday. Reportedly, six people have been booked in the case. Shocked Twitter users in the country shared news reports, and urged that strict punishment needed to be meted out to the family.
According to a news report by the Press Trust of India (PTI), the victim, identified as Suvi, had got married in August last year, and was six months pregnant.
According to her brother, Sumeru, she was “harassed for a car in dowry by her husband, and his family members”. According to the police, the incident happened in the state’s Bulandshahr district in Kakod town.
On Friday, Suvi was allegedly thrashed by her in-laws, and was later admitted to a hospital where her condition deteriorated, the police added.
When Suvi's parents, who are residents of Ghaziabad, reached the hospital, her in-laws allegedly misbehaved with them.
On Saturday night, Suvi breathed her last, cops said.
Tweep @sabrinaahmad25 posted: “It’s barbaric! Feel sorry for the ordeal this woman had to go through.”
While her body has been sent for postmortem, a case was registered against six people, including Suvi's husband.
Dowry system is illegal in India
Paying and accepting dowry is a centuries’ old South Asian tradition where the bride's parents gift cash, clothes and jewellery to the groom's family.
The age-old practice of dowry was made illegal in India in 1961, with the Dowry Prohibition Act. It specified that money or gifts demanded or given as dowry at the time of wedding will be considered punishable by law.
As news about Suvi was shared on Twitter, discussions on the prevalence of India’s outlawed dowry system resurfaced.
@ABHIJIT22224999 tweeted: “May I ask, why is the dowry system continuing in our country?” He added that after such deaths, though the case will be registered, lack of strict legal action is an encouragement for perpetrators of such crimes. “The same people will try to make plan for a next victim. Why is our system not strong for this?”, he asked.
The dowry system continues to be one of the biggest social problems that effects women and girls in India. Campaigners say it leaves women vulnerable to domestic violence and even death.
Reports show that it is also one of the reasons, parents in India prefer male children, leading to female infanticide. It is also known to put great financial burden on low income families, some spend their entire life’s savings, other end up taking huge loans, to meet the demands of the grooms’ families.
Tweep @rao_ksv posted: “Even the female to male ration [in India] is less, the dowry system is running only because of marriage mediators. Women are still unsafe in our country.”
To prevent dowry deaths and harassment of brides, India introduced a tough anti-dowry law - Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code - in 1983. However, that has not stopped parents of grooms from demanding money at the time of marriage.