NEW DELHI, Nov 24, Reuter: Nearly 1,800 Indian Brides were murdered last year, many bummed alive, because they failed to bring enough dowry into their marriage, and parliament was told on Thursday.

Home Affairs Minister of State P. Chidambaram said Dowry deaths soared 36 percent to 1,786 in 1987, up from 1,319 in 1986 and 1,000 in 1985.

Demanding a dowry as a condition of marriage was outlawed in 1961 but remains common.

Women’s groups say official figures understate the real number of cases where a bride’s husband or his family conspires to kill or drive her to suicide when their cash demands are rejected.

Many are burned alive after being doused in kerosene, the usual household cooking fuel, to disguise the death as an accident.

Chidambaram’s figures show Dowry deaths are most common in’ Uttar Pradesh State in India’s northern Hindu heartland.

Some 553 women died in the state last year, while such killings are virtually unknown in the Matriarchal tribal societies of the northeast, or in the far south where educational standards for women are high.

The author of the article is the Professor of English, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Article extracted from this publication >> December 2, 1988