Further Abuses Against Women
From The News & Observer:
Dowries become deadly in India
Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
PATNA, INDIA -
"[T]housands of wives ... are beaten to death, burned alive, electrocuted, poisoned, pushed out windows or otherwise killed horrifically every year because their husbands' families are dissatisfied with the dowries they bring to the marriage and continue to demand more.
"The practice of dowry in India goes back thousands of years. Its original intent, scholars say, was to protect women, who by bringing property and belongings to the marriage could enjoy some creature comforts and not have to depend entirely on their husbands.
"But somewhere along the line, what was supposed to be security for the bride came to be seen as a bounty for the groom and his family, a way for them to augment their wealth.
"Demanding dowry has been illegal in India since 1961, but the prohibition rarely has been enforced. The problem cuts across all social and class lines, affecting rich and poor, educated and illiterate, urban and rural.
"The increasingly high cost of weddings and demand for large dowries is a contributing factor in the high incidence of abortion of female fetuses, experts say. The government has banned sex-determination tests, but the practice continues, leading to an alarming shortage of young girls in parts of the country.
"Dowry killings, too, are so common that there is a commonly used term for the phenomenon, 'bride burning,' because many newlywed women die from being doused with kerosene and set on fire. The husband's family then reports the death as a kitchen accident, as many households use kerosene stoves."