Dowry deaths rampant among terai women

Published On: April 21, 2019 03:00 AM NPT By: Ritesh Tripathi

BIRGUNJ, April 21: Police on Friday lifted the body of Anju Devi Das, 28, of Birgunj Metropolitan City-23 from the cremation site on the banks of the Sirsiya River after they sniffed foul play in her death. Anju's husband Pannalal Das along with his family and relatives, who had gathered there on the sly, were on the verge of lighting the funeral pyre .

Anju has been married to Pannalal for eight years and there are two sons and two daughters. However, even such well established marriages have time and again fallen victim to the dowry tradition in southern Nepal.

“After we received a tip-off that a woman had been beaten to death by her in-laws over unmet dowry demands, we rushed to the cremation spot,” chief of district police office (DPO) Superintendent of Police Rewati Dhakal said. “When we said the circumstances of the death were suspicious, all those gathered for the cremation hastened away.”

Police have claimed that Pannalal and his family had even attempted to transport the body across the Indian border but the ambulance driver did not oblige. SP Dhakal said the body has now been taken to Shavnarayani Hospital for a post mortem. “The post mortem will establish the cause of death,” he said.

The Das family's neighbors claim that Anju was beaten to death Thursday night by her in-laws. “Anju's parents said she was beaten on several previous occasions also,” Dhakal added.

Such horrific deaths have become rampant of late. In March, a woman succumbed to serious injuries after her husband, who is a doctor at Narayani Hospital in Parsa district, beat her up mercilessly for not bringing dowry as demanded.

Sunita Yadav, 45, of Herpatgunj in Birgunj-20, breathed her last while undergoing treatment at TU Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu on March 31. Dr Sachinanda Yadav had beaten her up severely on March 20 and she was rushed unconscious to a nearby hospital .

She was later taken to Kathmandu for further treatment Tuesday as her condition did not improve. Doctors pronounced her death at TU Teaching Hospital on March 31, according to relatives of the deceased.

With the increase in the number of such dowry deaths, a heated debate has arisen on social conditions in the south of the country . “In-law pressure is the root of the problem but the social conditions have also aggravated matters,” sociologist Sushma Devi Tiwari said, “It is not just the poor; even rich families face the same menace.”

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