Malappuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Friday said the atrocities against women can be addressed only if a mindset is created which does not consider them as inferior and accept them as equal.
"We have laws, we have very good police yet these things are happening, why? Because laws and police come into picture only after crime has been committed," the Governor told reporters after visiting the house of Moosakkutty of Mampad, Malappuram, whose suicide was allegedly due to harassment his daughter faced from her husband over dowry.
Moosakkutty's 20-year-old daughter and her family had alleged that the dowry harassment she had to suffer from her husband drove her father to end his life. Before ending his life, Moosakkutty, 46, recorded a video narrating the brutal domestic violence his daughter faced at her husband's residence.
Visiting his home on Friday, Khan consoled the family members. "Only if you create a mindset which does not consider women inferior, when we accept women as equal, when we accept that women are entitled to the same dignity, only then these things can be solved," Khan said.
When a series of dowry deaths rocked Kerala in July this year, Governor Khan observed a fast on July 14 to create social awareness against the social evil and end atrocities against women.
He suggested that prior to taking admission in colleges, students and their parents should sign a bond that they will not engage in the practice of dowry.
As per the state police’ crime records bureau, 66 cases of dowry-related deaths and over 15,000 cases of harassment at the hands of husband/relatives have been recorded in the last five years, says an Indian Express report. According to data by the state women’s commission, nearly 1,100 cases of dowry-related harassment have come to its attention since 2010 with Thiruvananthapuram accounting for nearly 50% of the cases.
Greater government intervention in banning extravagant weddings and strengthening the existing laws are short-term measures, said KK Rema, a first-time MLA.
Also women are still not given the space to make autonomous decisions with regard to the public domain, says Prof Kodoth.
Kerala has the highest female unemployment rate in the country according to various rounds of NSSO surveys on employment and unemployment. The latest NSSO data for 2011-12 indicates that the overall unemployment rate in Kerala is 6.7% with a wide gender gap of 14.1% for women and 2.9% for men. Hence dowry is seen as a kind of protection to make up for the lack of income for a woman.