With the death of a 30-year-old woman in Hyderabad the issue of dowry related deaths has once again reared its ugly head.
Sandhya Singh, who worked as a Radio Jockey, was found hanging by her husband Vishal Vaibhav, an Army major at the Army quarters in Bollaram on April 18.
Sandhya, a native of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, married Vishal, a year and a half ago. Vishal is currently posted at the Army's 54th Infantry Division in Bollaram. The couple moved to Hyderabad six months ago.
Sandhyaâ€™s family has alleged that Vishal and his family have been harassing Sandhya for dowry since they did not give any dowry during the wedding.
â€śThe husband found his wife hanging from the ceiling, he immediately alerted the police. Initially we registered a case of suicide, however on Monday, her sister filed a dowry harassment case,â€ť Assistant commissioner of police (Begumpet) ,S Ranga Rao told TNM.
Following her sister Uma Singh's complaint, police have registered a case under section 304 (b) of IPC (dowry death) against Vishal.
â€śWe are yet to question Vishal. We got information from Army officials that the accused has been admitted in the ICU of the Army Hospital after he developed a chest pain on Thursday,â€ť Ranga Rao said.
Last month, a similar case was reported, when a government employee with the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) in Hyderabad ended her life after being harassed by her husband and in-laws for dowry.
In her suicide note Bhagyalakshmi blamed her in-laws and husband.
Cases of dowry harassment still continue to be registered in large numbers in the city.
â€śWe have received over 900 cases of domestic violence in nine months, out of which 20% of the cases are of dowry harassment. We still need to compile the data for dowry death cases from different parts of the city police stations,â€ť said D Kavitha, Assistant Commissioner of Police of SHE team, a special police team formed to tackle violence against women, in Hyderabad.
She also acknowledged that many cases of deaths due to dowry harassment goes unreported.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Telangana has reported 262 dowry death cases, including 25 deaths reported from Hyderabad alone in the year 2015.
Jameela Nishat, a womenâ€™s right activist and founder of Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association, said that marriage has become merely a business for people.
â€śThere are rate card for the grooms. An autorickshaw driver also takes Rs. 50,000 dowry, Engineers will take not less than Rs 5 lakh and if the engineer is US return then the dowry amount can go up to Rs.10-20 lakhs,â€ť Jameela said.
According to the activist, she has seen several domestic violence cases in Hyderabad, of which she said 90% are dowry harassment cases.
â€śDowry cases are rampant in Hyderabad. The fault lies on both sides. Why should one marry their daughter to someone who demands money? Even after having a strict law against dowry there has been several cases. This is because people are not ready to change,â€ť she added.