A woman is killed every hour in India because her family failed to meet her husband and in-laws demands for higher dowry payments and lavish gifts.
Official figures from Indias National Crime Records Bureau reveal that 8,233 young women, many of them new brides, were killed in so-called “dowry deaths” in 2012. The report comes amid growing concern over the level of violence against women following the Delhi gang rape case last December.
Many of the cruelty cases are believed to be dowry-related and many dowry killings are preceded by cruelty by the husband and in-laws.
Although the payment of dowries for marriage is illegal in India, they remain widespread across caste, class and educational divides. In recent years demands have become more insistent and expensive.
One of the dowry deaths last year was Pravartika Gupta, who was burned to death in her bedroom as she slept with her one-year-old daughter. She had been threatened by her in-laws because her family could not afford to speed up their schedule of payments.
Nagaland and Lakshadweep were the only places where no dowry deaths were reported during 2002-12.
In spite of all the stringent laws and campaigns against dowry, statistics on dowry-related deaths in the country have only increased over the years.