Its been over six decades since the dowry was prohibited in the country. However, the cases are still on the rise in modern India. People still follow the ugly tradition of dowry in disguise of gifts, sometimes even openly. If the demands remain unmet, the women are abused (mentally and physically) and even killed. Several dowry-harassment cases are reported daily in the country and there is no record of how many such cases go unreported.

In response to an increase in dowry-related cases and deaths in Kerala, the state government has revised its Dowry Prohibition rules to establish "dowry prohibition officers" in all 14 districts as part of a rigorous anti-dowry strategy. 

Making the announcement, Kerala Health Minister Veena George stated that the post of dowry prohibition officers was already in existence in three districts which are Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode. The officers are now appointed to all the districts.

Kerala Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Rules, 2021

According to state health minister Ms. George, ‘In each district, the district women and child development officers will serve as dowry prohibition officials. The first phase of district officer training had been completed and the state government had already solicited expressions of interest from volunteer organisations to help women with dowry-related complaints.’

Apart from this, efforts are made to establish district advisory boards and strengthen awareness campaigns. Gender and women's rules awareness classes are being held in collaboration with colleges and National Service Schemes, she added.

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Other initiatives

  • Recently, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan observed a day-long fast calling on people to root out the menace.
  • Governor Arif Mohammed Khan suggests that the vice-chancellors of the state's universities should make students sign a bond stating that they will not accept or give dowry before receiving their degree certificates.
  • "The signing of the bond should not be limited to students. The teaching personnel should also be required to sign the bond. During the discussion with the vice-chancellors of the universities, suggestions were made as to why not only students and parents but also at the time of admission, you would be required to sign the bond. Universities cannot and should not let their degrees be exploited as a licence to raise the bridegroom's price in the marriage market” stated the Governor.
  • State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has promised a 24-hour helpline to report any cases of dowry abuse.

Netizens' appreciation

People on social media are welcoming the move and appreciating the Kerala government for its decision. However, people are also cautioning the government that making rules is not enough, they have to keep an eye and make sure people abide by those rules.

One of the users on social media said, “Congratulations Kerala for making such a rule. Appointing officers at all levels is a good thing but must focus how strictly people follow them.” Another user said, “the first step towards development and gender equality.”

Meanwhile, several users urged the governments of other states to take similar measures against the menace. A person wrote on social media, “Great move. I hope Maharashtra govt. also do the same thing on the earliest.”

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