Petition Tag - dowry murders

1. The War on Dowry Pledge

In its fight against female genocide in India, the 50Million Missing Campaign has marked the practice of DOWRY as its STRATEGIC TARGET. You can join the “War on Dowry” movement on facebook.

What is driving the female genocide in India? What is the linking factor that is causing the systematic and targeted annihilation of women through feticide, infanticide and dowry murders. This is the question that we at the campaign have been asking.

After 3 years of observations, research, surveys, cases, discussions, and analysis, the conclusion we have reached is that none of the following is a factor in India’s female genocide : economics, education, class, caste, religion, and community. It involves the educated and wealthy, as well as the poor and uneducated, a conclusion also reached in a recent High Court verdict. In an infanticide case the Court concluded with this statement, “60 years of independence and so-called modernization has not changed the societal attitude towards the female child. Across the board; rural or urban, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, the skewed sex ratio adverse to the female child is a sad mirror image of the social thinking even in the 21st Century.”

So what is driving the female genocide in India?
The answer: A vulgar, chronic, and criminal GREED for dowry.

Dowry in India today has become the no.1 method of criminal extortion through the infliction of blackmail, torture, violence, and murder of women.

Every son born into a family is greedily viewed as the ‘golden goose’ who will bring in the fantasized wealth through the dowry they will demand when he gets married. So families want more and more sons. There is no end to the wealth demand even after marriage, and if the woman is killed, the son can marry again. For another dowry! Why kill, why not just divorce? In the case of divorce, there is always the chance that the woman or her family will demand their dowry money/ items back.

The families that are consumed with hoarding dowry, are the same ones that also do not want to pay dowry to other families. Hence, not only do they torment and kill women who marry into their families, but they destroy daughters in their own families through selective female feticide, infanticide and the killing of toddlers through starvation and deliberate neglect.

Dowry – the practice of easy wealth acquisition is spreading like wild-fire in India. Communities, regions and religions that never traditionally practiced dowry, have now jumped on the band-wagon. Along with this there is an uncontrolled increase in the murder of women and girl infants and an exponential increase in female feticide.

As of yet the system of law and order in India has shown little inclination towards bringing this situation under control. It is riddled with corruption and incompetence, and many in the government offices, police and medical establishment themselves indulge in dowry and female feticide. The possibility for change through the official channels therefore is bleak.

What then would be the most realistic and doable method at the grassroots level that would guarantee a visible impact for change in the shortest possible time. When we are talking about human lives, time is of the essence!

The 50 MM’s strategy is to target the custom of dowry, specifically addressing girls, women and the families with daughters. (Extortionists have no conscience. So we don’t think it is any use negotiating with them.)

In our ‘WAR ON DOWRY’ the following messages will be the focus of our PUBLIC projects:

* A man who needs his in-laws to fund his family incessantly is not fit for marriage.
* It is foolish to pay dowry to a family that is torturing your daughter and could ultimately kill her.
* It is wiser to spend that money on enabling your daughter to be secure and independent through education and or her own business.
* Your daughter’s life and safety is more important than her marriage. Parents must make that their prerogative.
* Treat the first dowry demand, before or after marriage as a death threat and either don’t marry your daughter into that family or get her out immediately. Don’t every send her back. In most cases that is when the girls get killed.
* A family that extorts for dowry is lowly, criminal, and perverse. Why would you want your daughter to marry into that family? Would you feel proud being related to people like that?
* In a country where there are 50 million more men than women – it is the woman’s prerogative to choose a good groom. Women and their families MUST recognize that the choice is theirs! They must choose wisely.

2. Call for Government Action to Stop Female Genocide In India

In 1986, the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Amartya Sen, had served India the first warning. He had calculated that 37 million women were “missing” from the country. Women who should have been part of the population but could not be accounted for.

The elimination however continued, even escalated. And now, 22 years later, it is estimated about 50 million women have been systematically purged from India’s population, targeted only because they were female. This is perhaps what makes it one of the worst genocides in human history. And it is silent. And ongoing.

Female infanticide has long, historical roots in India. It continues to be a rampant practice in many rural regions of India, largely because it is more affordable for the rural poor than the method more prevalent in towns and cities -- that is sex-selected abortions. A mid-wife is paid only about Rs 100/- (U.S. $2.50) to kill a newborn girl. Babies are strangled, buried alive, drowned in buckets of milk, or fed poison. In some parts of India that job is relegated to the father or paternal grandmother who does it for free.

Female feticide has now become an unbridled phenomenon in India. Even though it is illegal for doctors to reveal the gender of the fetus during an ultrasound, still about a million female fetuses are selectively aborted in India each year. This rate is expected to rise to an alarming 2-5 million/year over the new few years.

Also on the rise are the murders of young married women, whose in-laws’ demands for dowry money seem insatiable. Dubbed as ‘dowry deaths’ – these murders are generally gang-murders involving the husband, his parents, and sometimes his siblings. The victim is doused with kerosene and set ablaze in staged kitchen “accidents.” Or forced to consume sleeping pills, or hanged in staged “suicides.” It has been estimated that at least 25000 women are murdered this way, every year. The thousands who don’t die, live-on badly burnt and maimed, their lives destroyed.

The standpoint of this petition is to treat this as a situation of extensive and violent, lawlessness, perpetuated largely due to the apathy of the country’s system of law and order.

For more information or queries, please visit our campaign website

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