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Marital woes for men

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 10: Men in Orissa are coming out with tales of marital problems.

Figures available with the State Commission for Women (SCW), which started registering the problems of husbands four years ago, reveal that an ever-increasing number of husbands are at the receiving end of marital discord.

From 75 complaints in 2001, the number went up to 187 in 2004. In the past four years, SCW has received 546 complaints with men accusing their wives of harassment. From homeguards to social activists ' the harried husbands belong to various sections of society.

'It's true that several husbands are coming to us with their marital woes. But all that we can do right now is try and settle their problems amicably,' said Namita Panda, chairperson of SCW.

However, the commission has managed to settle only 70 cases till date, showing that amicable solutions are easier suggested than achieved.

Three years after Bikash Panda of Khurda got married, his wife Anita allegedly put pressure on him to shift to Bhubaneswar in 2003, which he was not willing to do since he had to look after his mother and sister at home.

Anita then went back to her paternal home in Balasore and sent a telegram threatening to file a dowry harassment case against Panda if he did not give in to her demands. Though Anita had not filed an FIR against him, Panda did not want to take a chance and moved the commission on October 14 last year. Anita was not available for comment. The SCW is yet to hear the case.

The commission agrees that there are times when women 'jump the gun' in simple cases of marital discord. 'After marriage, some women force their husbands to stay away from their parents. When the husbands protest, the girls run away and file complaints,' Panda said.

However, the commission feels that not all complaints are genuine. As Section 498 (A) of the Indian Penal Code makes it mandatory for the police to book the husband and his parents and other relatives/friends for a period of up to 48 hours, some men might move the commission to stall their impending arrest.

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