'Need to reform marriage system', says Pinarayi Vijayan as Kerala mulls helpline for dowry harassment after woman's death

·3-min read

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised a 24-hour helpline to report any dowry harassment case in view of a suspected case of suicide by a 24-year-old woman from Kollam district, after being allegedly tortured for dowry by her husband.

A 24-year-old woman was found dead at her husband's residence near Sasthamkotta in Kerala's Kollam district on Monday, which the family alleges was the outcome of dowry harassment.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan strongly condemned the incident, urging people to take an 'uncompromising stand' against the archaic practice.

The victim, Vismaya V Nair, was allegedly being harassed and tortured by her husband over a car that was gifted as dowry.

According to the victim's cousin, Nair's husband, S Kiran Kumar is an official at the Motor Vehicle Department and brutally tortured her. Pictures of the physical abuse were also shared on social media after her death.

The victim's relative, while speaking to the media said that she had wanted to exit the marriage but was unable to, fearing social implication and stigma attached to separated couples.

A case has been registered in the matter and an investigation is underway.

Chief Minister Vijayan, while condemning the incident, on promised a 24-hour helpline for dowry harassment.

"Issues related to dowry are being discussed in the society again after a while. Six decades have passed since dowry was banned by law in the country. Yet dowry is given and bought in many forms. This is a very serious social problem. We need to be able to see and deal with dowry and domestic violence. We need to take an uncompromising stand, regardless of gender, whether it is the husband's family or the wife's family," said Vijayan.

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Speaking about misogyny in society and how women are fighting perceivable social stigmas, the Chief Minister said, "We have seen many girls who openly say that they do not want to get married if they are going to be asked for dowry. Marriage is not just a matter of showing family status and value. What is given to the girl or how much is given should not be a measure of the greatness of the family. Those who think like that should remember that they are turning their children into commodities for sale."

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