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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 12:40 GMT
Dowry Law
Dowry gifts
Motorbikes are common dowry gifts
Correspondent was broadcast on Sunday, 16 November, 2003 at 1915 GMT on BBC Two.

It is wedding season in India.

All over the country the booming middle class is spending a fortune on dowries - bikes, fridges, microwaves, cars and large amounts of cash - all in the attempt to find a suitable husband.

It can cost up to $100,000 for a family in India to find a groom for their daughter.

This all happens despite the fact that it is illegal to give or receive more than $150 in dowry payments.

And it is resulting in the return of dowry crime. The aim: to get the money then get rid of the wife as soon as possible.

Demands for money often continue well into the marriage. If the family does not pay, there can be a heavy price.

Cases of newly-wed women burning to death in stove "accidents" occur daily.

Some women are forced to commit suicide by their husbands; others are simply murdered by their husband's family.

Reporter Adam Mynott comes across numerous suspicious cases, including a woman whose husband swears she committed suicide by burning herself to death when he refused to eat the lunch she had cooked.

Female crime unit

But women are fighting back.

Correspondent joins Delhi's female crime unit in the fight against dowry crime.

The unit, which was recently given the power to make arrests, responds to calls across the city from women who feel harassed.

The Indian Government has also responded to the increasing problem by passing a law so that anyone even remotely connected to the death of a wife can be thrown in jail.

As a result, entire families can be imprisoned.

India has even built a special jail block in Delhi for mothers-in-law accused of killing their sons' wives.

Correspondent: Dowry Law features one case where a young doctor died a week after she moved in with her in-laws.

Her parents and a leading feminist take the fight to the police.

The programme confronts her husband and in-laws in an attempt to find out how she died.

Reporter: Adam Mynott
Producer/Director: Frank Smith
Editor: Karen O'Connor

Fighting India's dowry crime
14 Nov 03  |  Correspondent
Have your say
17 Nov 03  |  Correspondent
Dying for a dowry
07 Jul 03  |  Crossing Continents
Another Indian bridegroom arrested
04 Jun 03  |  South Asia
Delhi dowry rows persist
21 May 03  |  South Asia
Delhi girls rebel over dowries
19 May 03  |  South Asia
Dowry demand lands groom in jail
14 May 03  |  South Asia
Jail crisis for dowry crimes
01 Jun 00  |  South Asia


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