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Kerala Guv says laws and affidavits alone won’t curb dowry menace

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Dec 8: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Friday called for comprehensive awareness against the menace of dowry and said laws and affidavits alone won’t bring solution to the problem.

Stressing that it was the responsibility of parents, teachers and the society to make girls emotionally more resilient, he said they should be made aware of the evils of dowry, which must be fought against.

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Khan was addressing reporters after visiting the house of Shahana, a 27-year-old post graduate student of the government medical college here who died by suicide after her fiancé backed out of the marriage proposal over dowry.

The accused Ruwais, also a PG doctor, was arrested and remanded on Thursday based on a purported suicide note of the victim and the statements of her family members.

“We need to create more awareness among the people and it is the responsibility of the parents, teachers and the society to make our girls emotionally more resilient.

I endorse what the Chief Minister had said that they should have the guts…the strength to simply reject anybody who makes such demands,” the Governor said.

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Reacting to the incident, Vijayan had said that young women should be encouraged to reject proposals where dowry demands are made, and that public opinion has to change with regard to the practice.

Khan expressed sadness over the occurrence of such incidents in Kerala, a state which used to be a matriarchal society where women called the shots.

“Why feel heartbroken? We need to create more awareness among the society and particularly among our girls… And here our girls have become so vulnerable and the boys, not everybody, but some of them are becoming evil. This is not only evil, but this is a brutish behaviour,” he added.

The Governor further said no words were adequate to express grief over the loss of “this brilliant life”.

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He pointed out that signing of affidavits against dowry during the time of university convocations were not enough to root out the menace.

‘In every convocation, we are collecting this affidavit. What is the purpose? The purpose of the affidavit is to create social awareness and make society conscious of the evil of dowry,” he said.

“Make the youngsters aware that this is an evil which must be fought against, and Affidavit alone cannot do everything.”

Khan was also of the view that existing laws were inadequate to eliminate the dowry menace and emphasized on the importance of building social sanctions against such evil practices.

“We have 18 laws. Laws alone cannot be a solution to such problems. You will have to build social sanctions against such evil practices like dowry.  You will have to make people more aware how obnoxious this thing is.”

A student in the ortho department of the Government Medical College here, Shahana was found unconscious in her apartment and later declared brought dead at the hospital on Tuesday.

People from various walks of life, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan, expressed shock over the suicide of the young doctor and strongly condemned the practice of dowry.

Besides the sections of abetment of suicide, investigators slapped the Dowry Prohibition Act also against the accused.

Describing him as a “proponent of dowry”, which is a social menace, police, in the remand report, also alleged that the man was responsible for the death of the young doctor who was hope of the future.

A court here had remanded Ruwais to 14 days judicial custody. (PTI)

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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