Monday, March 02, 2009

Fire a major killer of Indian women

A recent Lancet study discusses the use of fire against women in domestic abuse situations. According to the study, more than 100,000 young women were killed in fires in India in a single year. Read on,

Young Indian women are more than three times as likely to killed by fire as their male compatriots, according to an article published on the Web site of the British medical journal, The Lancet. The victims largely fell within a 15 to 34-year age group.

Domestic abuse is a serious problem in India. Women are sometimes killed in disputes over dowries; often in such disputes the victims are doused with gasoline and set ablaze, and their deaths are claimed as kitchen accidents.

In the first study of its kind and using the most recent data available, The Lancet analyzed death registrations, official questionnaires in rural areas and census figures to arrive at an estimate of 163,000 fire-related deaths in 2001, or 2 percent of all deaths. That number is six times higher than the number of such deaths reported by police. More than 106,000 of those, or 65 percent, were women.
You can read more about this article here.


Transient said...

While the law is in place for punishment of these offenses (in some areas the cases are so widespread that the law was ammended) the enforcement is really weak.

The Indian Penal Code addresses dowry deaths in section 304-B. If a woman dies of "unnatural causes" within seven years of marriage and has been harassed for dowry before her death, the Courts will assume that it is a case of dowry death. The husband or in-laws will then have to prove that their harassment was not the cause of her death. A dowry death is punishable by imprisonment of at least seven years.

S Kaur said...

Thanks for your comment Transient. I completely agree - laws are great but without enforcement, they aren't really helping anyone. Thank you for the reference to that Penal Code - I wonder how often it is upheld in these types of cases...