Dhanbad and Bokaro could be the “more educated” districts in the state with literacy figures of 76 per cent and 74 per cent respectively, but all the learning in the world is not enough to wipe out the shame of dowry cases being lodged with unfailing regularity over the last six months.
A report, compiled after surveys in different districts of North Chotanagpur on the instructions of IG Murarilal Meena, said between March and August, as many as 53 cases of dowry deaths and 156 cases of dowry harassment and torture have been lodged in the two Coal Belt districts.
While Bokaro reported 12 dowry deaths, the figure was 41 in neighbouring Dhanbad. The harassment and torture figures for the coal town was 79, while 77 complaints to the effect were registered in different police stations of the steel hub during the period.
According to the police, dowry deaths and dowry harassment cases have risen by as much as 30 per cent in the last two years, making a mockery of claims by the two districts of being way ahead in the field of education.
Speaking to The Telegraph, State Women’s Commission chairperson Hemlata S. Mohan said she had come across a large number of dowry and domestic violence cases in recent times.
“Persons who demand dowry and kill their daughter-in-law must be dealt with an iron hand. Strict punishment should be given to greedy people who harass a bride for more money so that others do not dare repeat such heinous crimes,” she said.
“Several reasons can be attributed to the menace — illiteracy, economic backwardness, male chauvinism and greed. Also the feudal mentality of giving sons more importance plays a large role,” she added.
Coal Belt DIG Laxman Singh said it was unfortunate that the problem was so rampant in districts that were supposed to be forward in their thinking.