Evil of Utmost Gravity: Kerala CM on Dowry, After Vismaya’s Death

The statement comes after the death of Vismaya, a Kollam woman who was found dead in her husband’s home on 21 June.

2 min read
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan spoke out against the practice of dowry and harassment in its name, calling it a social evil. The CM’s statement comes as the state grapples with the death of 22-year-old Vismaya, a woman from Kollam who was found dead in the house of her husband, S Kiran Kumar, on 21 June. She was allegedly tortured and killed because of their dowry arrangement.

“Torture and death in the name of dowry has been happening in various parts of the country. But to become a place like that doesn’t befit the cultural enlightenment that the state has acquired. This is totally regrettable, not befitting to our land,” the CM said.

“It has been six decades since dowry has been legally banned in the country. Still dowry has been given and accepted in various forms and quantities. This is a social evil of utmost gravity. We should deal with dowry and domestic violence with this perspective. We should take an unrelenting stand on this, irrespective of the bride's family, groom's family or wife or husband.”

“The yardstick for a family's dignity shouldn't be what was given to a bride and how much. Those who think in that way should remember that they are making their children products for sale,” CM Pinarayi stated.


Another Dowry Death Recorded in Kerala

Another incident in which a woman was killed in the state was reported on Tuesday, 22 June. Twenty-four-year-old Archana’s immolated body was found in the house where she and her husband Suresh had been living.

CM Pinarayi said that there will be investigation with no room for any lapses in these incidents, and culprits will be brought before the law.

Additionally, he noted that conversations around dowry at home are passed on to children, and he questioned whether gender equality and anti-dowry lessons should be made a part of the educational system.


“There should be no thought that manhood is beating up women and womanhood is tolerating and forgiving. And don't pass these kinds of stupid thoughts to our children. The time is such that society needs new thoughts on gender equality. The government will examine whether to incorporate such things in the curriculum. We need to build up a generation of high knowledge and ability. It's the responsibility of all of us to ensure that there won't be any place for inequality. The basics should begin from homes. There will be government's intervention to encourage such perspectives in public places and at work places,” the CM said.

“Men's families shouldn't demean marriages as a contract for trade. The parents should realise that discussions in this direction in homes would have a huge impact on the children. Men shouldn't be made to think it's their right to get gifts from women's families. Likewise, the thought to tolerate any kind of mental and physical harassment shouldn't be put on women. Both of these are reflections of partiarchical thought. What we need is not dominance but coexistence,” he added.

(This was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)

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