Say no to dowry, Governor tells girls

Varsities will be told to seek an undertaking from students against the evil

July 14, 2021 08:35 pm | Updated 08:35 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Universities will be asked to seek an undertaking from students that they will not be party to the crime of giving or accepting dowry, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has said.

Students will be required to give the undertaking before accepting their degrees and diplomas, the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of universities, said while participating in a fast organised by Gandhian organisations here against the practice of dowry.

Mr. Khan said he would be writing to Vice Chancellors seeking the introduction of this measure. The undertaking would also empower the university concerned to cancel the degree if later on it was found that the student had become party to the crime of dowry, he said.

“A degree from an educational institution is not meant to increase your price in the marriage market,” he said.

Mr. Khan declared his intention to write to people’s representatives requesting them to avoid marriages where dowry had changed hands. If such a transaction had indeed taken place, they should decline the invitation. “They also should make it public that this is the reason why they are not attending, despite receiving the invitation,” he said.

He urged women to say 'no' to marriages where the groom's family was demanding a dowry. The problem of dowry was not confined to Kerala alone. The State, with its admirable social indicators in literacy and health, should take the lead in the fight against it, he said.

The Governor's decision to join the fast had come as a surprise to many and had triggered an intense debate. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Mr. Khan said his decision to join the fast was “above party politics.” No such motive existed, he said.

“This is not a partisan issue. Politicians, non politicians and everybody are concerned with this issue,” he said, adding that he had discussed the matter with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who was ''enthusiastic about it.'' Leaders of the Opposition too have lent his support to it, he said.

The Kerala Police is pro-active in pursuing dowry-related cases. “I can vouchsafe for this,” he said. “But law alone or the police alone, cannot end this (the practice of dowry). We need some action on the part of the people. We have to appeal to the conscience of the people,” he said.

Mr. Khan started his fast at 8 a.m. at the Raj Bhavan and arrived at the Gandhi Bhavan here for a prayer meeting at 4.30 p.m. He concluded the fast by sipping lemon juice at 6 p.m.

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