HYDERABAD: Despite it being illegal to give or take dowry according to the Dowry Prohibition Act (1969), the practice is still very much prevalent in all sections of society, with the dowry often termed as ‘gifts to the couple’. Of late, the popularity of the dowry system in Telangana has reached such heights that every groom feels proud about the number of white goods he has received from his in-laws along with the amount of gold and money, said the senior officials of Hyderabad Police.
According to recent statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau 2016, Hyderabad ranks second in India with 1,311 cases reported on cruelty towards women by husbands or relatives. Delhi still leads in the crimes committed against women with a reportage of 3,645 cases.
D. Kavitha, ACP, SHE Teams Hyderabad, said, “There has been a rise in such cases as more women are coming into the open about their plight after SHE Teams launched Bharosa Centre in May 2016. SHE Teams is offering help and protection to the harassed women. This is a positive change we have observed.”
“There is one relatively new law that can further protect women from hara-ssment or dowry related suicides called Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which assures special protection for the victims. Effective implementation of this Act can save several women on the verge of suicide”, said Laxmi Prasad, a lawyer from city court.
But officials say that the state was yet to implement this law effectively. The police generally choose 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) if the matter is deemed serious.
Techies grapple with depression
Despite being well-educated, women techies are most vulnerable to dowry harassment. Husband demanding additional dowry is a recurring phenomenon in the city, leading to suicides. The distressed women, unable to bear the brunt of harassment, opt for the extreme option of ending their lives.
Suicide notes that talk about the inability to cope with the stress of personal and professional lives and the constant juggle between them, are commonplace.
A few months back last year, Harika, a 20-year-old medico was allegedly set ablaze by her husband after constant dowry harassment. According to the police, Harika was married to her cousin Rishi Kumar, 26, who worked in a private company and they lived in Rock Town Colony in LB Nagar. “Harika was earlier staying in a hostel and was taking a long term Eamcet coaching, as per Rishi’s wishes. After appearing for the test this year, she managed to secure admission to the Dental Surgery course. She had since returned to Rishi and both were in the process of deciding which college to select” said the ACP LB Nagar, P. Venugopala Rao.
IT companies are now providing marital counselling as well as training in marital issues. But compared to technical training, there are few takers for family sessions....