Sunday, April 29, 2007

Even in love affair, man kills fiancee over dowry

In an incident that displays the extent to which the evil culture of dowry has permeated our society, a fiancee threw his would-be-wife from the fifth floor to her death after she grew upset over his demanding dowry.
We read all about dowry from time to time, with wives getting burnt for dowry, harassed for dowry and so on. In today's marriages, it has become common place to see a new car, displayed prominently at the marriage location. This car is meant to be given to the groom by the girl's family, and there is no shame or any kind of fear in this display. In fact, it is displayed with pride, with the groom's family seeing the type of car being given as a symbol of their status in society.
Read this story:

A squabble over dowry led to 24-year-old Deepak Behal allegedly pushing down fiancee Mukta Chandolia from her fifth-floor house on Saturday and killing her.
Mukta and Deepak met seven years ago at a relative's marriage and become romantically involved. The families were against the match as they belonged to different castes. The couple had run off to Hardwar on April 11 and got secretly married there.
According to Mukta's elder brother Manish, they returned from Hardwar on April 23 and went straight to Deepak's house. "Deepak's father called us over, saying we needed to formalise the marriage. We did the roka the same day. On Wednesday, the Behal family came and did the roka, giving Mukta jewellery and clothes. We found nothing amiss in their behaviour."
However, on Saturday, Manish took Deepak out shopping for furniture where hints were dropped that that the family wanted dowry. "We had given them Rs 10,000 but he said it wasn't sufficient. At 10.30 pm, he came over with his mother and started demanding Rs 5 lakh. Later, they lowered the demand to Rs 3 lakh and said we could spend a lakh on the wedding but had to hand over the cash on the day of the wedding, otherwise he wouldn't get the baraat," Manish said.
After that, Manish said that Mukta refused to marry Deepak and ran off to her room upstairs. She was followed by Deepak. "We chased the duo and reached the roof only to find Deepak hitting Mukta and then throwing her off. My younger brother Ashish and an uncle, whom I called immediately, took Mukta to the Ganga Ram Hospital while I prevented Deepak and his mother from leaving and called the police," said Manish.

This incident is all the more shocking, as this was a marriage derived from a love affair, against all the odds. Inspite of this, this hateful and despicable man demanded his pound of flesh from the marriage. He deserves all the punishment he can get. A fit case for social organizations to campaign against him.
The custom of dowry has permeated society to the extent that it is seen as an entitlement of marriage. It is sometimes argued that dowry is equivalent to a daughter getting her share, and hence justified, What utter nonsense! Dowry is nothing but a demand from the groom's side to extort as much money as they can. It needs to be crushed both legally and socially.
However, all the gains of the past seem to be going away. There are no more anti-dowry campaigns on the media that we used to see earlier; in fact, with so much money and rich living being shown on television, it would seem that people see a marriage as their one chance to make money.
What is needed is that every incident of dowry being prosecuted is highlighted strongly along with the punishments so that people feel scared of taking dowry. Also, since people listen to people with social authority; religious leaders, prominent film stars, and other such people need to speak much more against this evil in society. At the same time, there are court cases where false allegations of dowry are being exposed. Anti-dowry laws need to be fine-tuned such that false allegations are weeded out, while true offenders are ruthlessly prosecuted.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 9:04 PM