KOCHI: Dowry-related persecution has led to the death of 34 women in the state in the past three years, but not a single accused has been convicted yet. As per the state government data, though chargesheet was filed in 20 of the 34 cases registered under Section 304 (b) of IPC between 2018 and 2020, there has been no conviction in any of the case.
According to the data presented by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the Assembly, 18 cases were registered in 2018 followed by 10 in 2019 and six in 2020. Officials with state women's commission say the complaints related to dowry harassment had been very high in the past 10 years. More than 1,000 cases were handled by the commission during the period.
Criminologist James Vadackumchery said the families that harass brides for more dowry have changed their strategy after the law specified that death of a woman caused by any burns or bodily injury or that happens under abnormal circumstances within seven years of marriage be called 'dowry death'.
"Earlier, such families used to abuse and kill the bride. But now, they harass her mentally and physically, forcing her to commit suicide," he said.
Kerala Women's Commission member Shiji Sivaji said the commission will initiate a discussion on the rise in number of dowry death cases and the delay in conviction in such cases. "A discussion with various stakeholders is must to find means to bring in a mechanism to expedite trial in dowry death cases. The commission will discuss the matter," she said.