Nine such cases registered between April 1 and June 30 this year
As the land price skyrockets in Mandya district, where cases of child marriage and female foeticide are reported frequently, incidents of harassment and deaths arising from dowry demands are increasing.
While nine cases of dowry deaths were registered in various police stations in the district between April 1 and June 30, 2012, 27 cases of assault for dowry demands were lodged in the same period in different parts of the district.
Though the police registered 40 dowry-related cruelty cases in the last three months, social activists say that the number is just a tip of the iceberg.
Non-governmental organisations in Mandya attribute the trend to the feudal system as well as increasing price of land.
But the police department has identified lack of awareness and education among the women as the prime reason behind incidents of dowry-related atrocities.
Feudal system still exists here and hence the cruelty against women is a common phenomenon, says Mallige Sirimane, who regularly conducts counselling sessions for victims in dowry-related cases.
The police have registered 40 cases of dowry deaths and dowry-related assaults in the last 90 days in the district, but four or five such cases have been occurring every day. Most of the cases go unreported, according to Ms. Mallige, a member of non-governmental organisation Mahila Munnade.
“We conduct counselling sessions for the victims. But we never suggest that they file complaints with the police as it would harm their marital life. Instead, we try to fill the gap between the couple as Mahila Munnade’s main objective is to resolve the issues. Also, a majority of the victims do not go to the police station. However, they continue to face physical and mental torture,” she said.
“Women have financial stability in Mandya as they get a share in property. Incidents of cruelty against women are common in Maddur, Pandavapura, Nagamangala and K.R. Pet,” C. Kumari, State joint secretary, All India Democratic Women’s Association, said.
According to the NGOs, most of the victims of dowry-related incidents were from the rich families.
Dowry-related incidents are common among women in the age group of 22 to 35. The distressing fact in most of the cases is that the guilty are never brought to book due to political pressure, according to an activist of Communist Party of India (Marxist) and counsellor.
“Thus, the victims never get justice,” she said.
Meanwhile, the police have opened a women cell at the office of the Superintendent of Police.
“There are many dowry-related cases that do not get reported because the victims fear social backlash. We are dealing with such cases whenever they were brought to the notice of the police,” Koushalendra Kumar, Superintendent of Police, said.
The Mandya police have done much to bring down crimes against women. The alleged offenders have been identified and brought to book in almost all registered cases, he said.