Kerala Chief Minister on Wednesday condemned the practice of dowry as a social evil of utmost gravity, following the death of 24-year-old Visamaya who killed herself following alleged torture by her husband in the name of dowry.
Taking strict action, Vijayan has directed the state police chief to ensure efficient functioning of Domestic Conflict Resolution Centres in all districts to prevent violence against women. He has also promised a 24-hour helpline to report dowry harassment cases.
He pointed out that the Indian constitution banned the practice of dowry 60 years ago, but it is still given and accepted in various forms and quantities. "We should deal with dowry and domestic violence with the perspective of it being a social evil. We should take a relenting stand against it," reported The News Minute.
"Men should not think that they have the right to receive gifts from women's families. Men's families should not demean marriage as a contract for trade. Women should not be taught to tolerate any kind of mental or physical harassment," said Pinarayi Vijayan.
He called both these tendencies reflections of patriarchal mindset and argued that the society needs coexistence, not dominance.
He also slammed the custom of measuring the family's dignity with the value of dowry given to the bride. He said that such parents are making their children products for sale.
The Kerala CM said that the conversations around dowry are passed on to children at home. He continued to discuss the necessity of teaching gender equality and anti-dowry lessons in schools.
"Society needs new thoughts on gender equality. The government will examine the need to incorporate such lessons in the school curriculum," said the CM. He also pointed out the need to build up a generation of knowledge and ability. He added that it is everyone's responsibility that inequality does not prevail.
The CM said that the torture and death due to the practice of dowry have been reported in various parts of India. It does not fit the cultural enlightenment Kerala has acquired. He called the incident "totally regrettable" and the practice of something that does not "befitting to our land".
He noted that stupid thoughts stereotyping gender should not be passed to children. He slammed the idea that manhood is beating up women and womanhood is all about tolerating or forgiving.
Another dowry-related death was reported yesterday. A woman named Archana (24) was killed and her immolated body was found in the house where she lived with her husband Suresh. Chief Minister said that the investigation into both incidents will be carried out with no room for any lapse and promised to bring the culprits to justice, reported TNM.