Thursday, April 15, 2021

Hollow BBBP

The United Nations report that India has the highest rate of female homicide due to dowry in the world should act as an eye-opener for the Central Government. This is happening despite the fact the laws prohibiting dowry are in place since 1961 and almost 50,000 women lost their lives due to violence in their homes or from the close family members or partners. It appears that the situation on domestic violence front has assumed alarming proportions in the country where marriage is considered a heavenly bond between the two adults. But the Centre and State governments appear to be least concerned about the rising rate of violence and are busy in other petty politicking in the name of religion for their vote bank politics instead of improving the quality of life for the citizens. The new slogans of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ (BBBP) also appear to be hollow as the domestic violence and homicide among young women has shown an upward trend during the past more than four years. Even otherwise also, the UN report based on a survey and collection of figures from around the world suggests that home is the most dangerous place for women not only in India but also around the world. At least 58 percent out of a total of 85,000, who lost their lives around the world last year, were killed at the hands of intimate partners or the family members. In India the female homicide rate in 2016 was 2.8 per cent, higher than the rate in Kenya (2.6), Tanzania (2.5), Azerbaijan (1.8), Jordan (0.8) and Tajikistan (0.4), which cannot be taken lightly in view of the government’s commitment to check the number of female homicide and domestic violence against women. Moreover, the situation on the domestic front also are alarming as 33.5 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 who experienced physical violence (irrespective of perpetrator) at least once in their lifetime in India and 18.9 per cent in the past 12 months, according to data from 1995-2013. Dowry-related deaths in India continue to be a matter of concern. The study noted that available data on dowry-related killings from the National Crime Records Bureau indicate that female dowry deaths account for 40 to 50 percent of all female homicides recorded annually in India, representing a stable trend over the period 1999 to 2016. The study suggests that despite legislation adopted by the Indian Government in 1961, prohibiting the payment of dowry, the practice continues throughout the country and dowry deaths continue to account for a substantial share of all female homicides. The report, released for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, examines available homicide data to analyse the gender-related killing of women and girls, with a specific focus on intimate partner and family-related homicide and how this relates to the status and roles of women in society and the domestic sphere. While the vast majority of homicide victims are men, women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes. They are also the most likely to be killed by intimate partners and family. In view of this situation, targeted criminal justice responses are needed to prevent and end gender-related killings. UNODC released the reports to increase understanding and inform action. It is worth noting that tangible progress in protecting and saving the lives of female victims of intimate partner-family-related homicide has not been made in recent years, despite legislation and programmes developed to eradicate violence against women. There is an urgent need to highlight effective crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women that promote victim safety and empowerment while ensuring offender accountability. There is also need for greater coordination between police and the justice system as well as health and social services and emphasizes the importance of involving men in the solution, including through early education. Social security and women empowerment are the other two major issues which can help in reducing the violence and female homicide in the country.