CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN, DOWRY DEATHS CONTI
CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN, DOWRY DEATHS CONTINUE
Ludhiana August 10:
While the state already features among others infamous for the high rate of crimes against women, the district has seen a spurt in such incidents in the recent past, particularly in the last couple of months. Police records of the last few years suggest almost similar figures year after year.
The death of a seven-month pregnant woman (23) at her in-laws' Gobing Nagar residence near Samrala Chowk, reportedly over dowry issue, not only rattled the minds of those who read the news reports, it also highlighted the widespread prevalence of such crimes.
Gurvinder Kaur was allegedly poisoned over a dowry demand that included a motorcycle and a washing machine. This came a month after a city-based industrialist was booked for murdering his five-month pregnant wife, also over a dowry issue. As per the records, as many as nine cases of dowry deaths (section 304 B of the IPC) have been reported in the district alone till July 31, 2008, as against 17 in 2007 and 16 in 2006.
On the other hand, crimes listed under 'cruelty meted out to woman by her husband and his relatives (section 498 A of the IPC), which is also linked with dowry demands, has been 59 this year. In 2007, the number of such cases was 169 and in 2006, it was137.
“Overall, crimes against women, including dowry deaths, suicides committed by women under pressure of dowry, maltreating one's wife, or rape, have all been steadily increasing. These crimes are in fact a matter of concern, as they reflect the condition of women in our society,” said DIG Ishwar Singh.
Dr Shalina Mehta from the Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, feels the dowry death cases in the state “need a thorough investigation to effect a decline in this ever-increasing social evil of our society”. Dr Shalina, who is actively involved in the fight against crimes against women, has authored four books on social issues.
She says the crimes against women also have roots in the "peculiar masculine syndrome that exists prominently in our society". She said: “Whether it is about husbands maltreating their wives or about males involved in crimes such as rape, one of the reasons leads us to this syndrome. Our society has somehow presented woman as a weaker sex through some folklores also and males have always taken it as a boost to their male chauvinism.” She further said that after being subjected to physical or sexual abuse by husbands, they either end their lives themselves or are murdered.