Even as the centenary celebrations of International Women's Day were winding to a close late onTuesday, two young women from the city, who had their entire lives ahead of them, chose death instead of a life of constant harassment for dowry. One hung herself while the other chose self-immolation.

Rekha (19), married to cab driver Rajesh Babu (32) for less than a year, hung herself in their Laggere home after a particularly bitter quarrel on Tuesday afternoon.

The police said initially the husband tried to conceal her death. When he later informed her family about the death, he tried to convince them that it was a natural end.

However, Rekha's father Jayanna, who rushed to the city from Hassan, called his bluff and lodged a complaint with the Rajgopalnagar police saying his son-in-law had demanded Rs. 5 lakh as dowry at the time of the wedding last May. The girl's family could muster only Rs. 3.5 lakh but Babu kept harassing Rekha to bring pressure on her family to pay up the remainder. He has been arrested.

Sets herself on fire

In the second case Savithramma (22), hailing from Dharampuri in Tamil Nadu, set herself on fire using kerosene late on Tuesday at her home in Mahadevpura where she lived with her husband Manju Prasad (25) and in-laws. She was married to Manju Prasad, a cab driver, for the last four years.

Although she was rushed to the hospital by neighbours who heard her screams and broke open the door, she could not pull through and died early Wednesday.

According to a complaint registered by her mother, Manju Prasad along his father Ramchandrappa (60) and mother Venkatlakshmamma (54) used to often gang up against Savithramma and beat her.

Every time they were in any sort of financial need, the family would try and extract money out of Savithramma's parents. The police have arrested the husband and his parents.