PATNA—India’s Bihar state has launched a vigorous campaign to put an end to dowry which has claimed more than 85,000 lives in the past 10 years. A dowry is a payment such as property or money made by the bride’s family to the groom or his family at the time of wedding.
As part of Bihar’s campaign, the government has asked officials to grant permission to organise wedding events to families only after they submit a formal declaration for “dowry-less wedding”.
“I have asked officials to add a new column in the prescribed format for granting permission for holding wedding events in future. From now on, the families concerned will have to submit a declaration that their wedding functions will not only be dowry-free but they will also not get involved in child marriages,” reads an official notice issued from the office of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
The notice was released to the media by the Information and Public Relations Department, shortly after the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, held a meeting with top officials in the course of his state-wide Social Reforms campaign. The chief minister embarked on his state-wide “Social Reforms campaign” on Wednesday. During the fortnight-long campaign, the chief minister has been holding public rallies in villages and urging the masses to fight against dowry, child marriages and intoxication.
“If the villagers really get serious about ending dowry, this social evil will soon become a thing of the past,” the chief minister said, asking the officials to keep a strict vigil on those who indulge in the practice of marrying their daughters in childhood.
For the past three years, the government has launched a sustained campaign against dowry and child marriages though with limited or no success. In January, 2018, the state government formed a 14,000 km-long human chain against dowry and child marriages across the state to build an atmosphere against these two prominent social evils yet they still continue. While the cases of child marriages have indeed come down over the years, the dowry cases flourish as usual.
According to a report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 85,825 deaths related to dowry were reported in India in between 2010 and 2020. In 2020, altogether, 6,966 cases of dowry deaths were reported against 7,141 in 2019 and 7,167 in 2018, the NCRB report stated.
As per the NCRB report, in all 10,366 cases were registered under The Dowry Prohibition Act in 2020 against 13,307 cases in 2019 and 12,826 cases in 2018. The highest number of 2,274 cases was registered in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 1,046 cases in Bihar, 608 in Madhya Pradesh, 522 in West Bengal, 479 in Odisha, 275 in Jharkhand and 251 in Haryana. In Delhi, 110 cases of dowry deaths were reported.