BENGALURU: Bengaluru may be on the international map as an IT hub. But the city saw a rise in the number of dowry cases annually. In the first 16 days of the current year, 17 dowry cases were filed across police stations in the city.
The number of cases filed under the Dowry Prohibition Act witnessed a rise from 690 in 2018 to 739 in 2019. The number had stood at 727 in 2017. The number of dowry deaths saw a jump from 48 in 2018 to 52 in 2019, with none reported so far in 2020. Though 2017, 2018 and 2019 saw an average of more than two cases a day, this year’s average for the first 16 days has been a tad above one case per day. Police point out that the nature of cases has become more disturbing and serious, often involving attacks on women who are victimised by the socio-economic menace.
TNIE accessed details of a few cases which range from verbal abuse to torture where women find themselves unable — or unwilling — to meet the demands raised by the husbands’ families. In most cases, demands for dowry escalate after marriage.
In one case, narrated by a police inspector, the husband took 1 kg of gold from the girl’s family as dowry. The wife was then tortured for cash within a few weeks of the marriage, and upon denial, she was burnt.
“Women are encouraged to lodge complaints, but we investigate the cases before taking them to the court,” a senior police officer said.
“In one instance, the girl’s family spent Rs 15 lakh for the wedding and Rs 1.3 lakh in dowry. The girl was asked to help repay the groom’s housing loan. She resisted and began facing threats,” the officer said.
Counsellors at Vanitha Sahayavani, the women’s helpline located in the office complex of the Bengaluru City Police Commissioner, say that while genuine cases exist, there have also been a number of fake cases filed by women. “(Actual) cases are probably fewer, because we find several women trying to blackmail their husbands and in-laws. “Recently, we had a wife who had been threatening the husband of pouring kerosene on herself for 10 months out of displeasure over her mother-in-law. When she approached us, she made the case seem as if it was a dowry case when clearly it was just disagreement among them,” said a senior counsellor at the helpline.
The counsellor added that such cases may see a dip this year compared to last year with more stringent checks being employed.