24-hour helpline to report dowry harassment: CM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday announced a round-the-clock police helpline (94979 96992) for women to report instances of dowry harassment, domestic violence and other gender crime.

Mr. Vijayan said the outlawed and universally condemned practice of dowry had reared its head again in Kerala. Continuing demand for dowry had driven several newly married women to suicide. Few had also suffered torture at the hands of their husband or inlaws.

Symbol of misogyny

He pointed out that domestic violence and dowry harassment ran against the grain of the Indian Constitution, which guaranteed equal right and protection for all genders. The dowry culture smacked of misogyny and a retrograde outlook that sought to relegate women to a subaltern position in society.

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The law of the land prohibited discrimination based on gender. The government would uphold the law. He said District Police Chiefs would directly intervene in complaints received at the helpline and also

Pathanamthitta District Police Chief R. Nishanthini would be the nodal officer. The State Police Chief would monitor the follow-up action on the complaints received.

Mr. Vijayan said demanding and receiving dowry was anathema to Kerala’s progressive culture. “Men should not think dowry is a right. Some women in Kerala had set an example for society by spurning suitors who demanded dowry,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan said people should not treat marriages as an occasion to exhibit wealth. Marriage was a covenant between two consenting persons. “Men should not think that beating their wife was a sign of masculinity. Women equate suffering in silence with marital fidelity,” he said.

In school curriculum

The government would include gender equality in the school curriculum. It would insist on equal rights for women in all spheres of life. It would not tolerate gender harassment at the workplace.

The Chief Minister said Kerala could not allow misplaced anti-feminist notions to take root in a progressive society, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 12:17:02 AM |

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