Given Below is the RTI I have filed with National Crime Records Bureau to know the details of bride burning in India. We always hear those ‘stories’ of bride burning and get ashamed to see where our humanity has gone. So I expected that this RTI would reveal the true story. I asked the following questions in this RTI-
1.How many total dowry death cases were convicted year wise in last five years (e.g. between 2008 – 2012)?
2.Please give me year-wise details of the modes of death (e.g. strangulation, burning, suicide etc) of the bride and the number of the same that is recorded under dowry death in India for the period 2008 – 2012?
3.Kindly provide me the total number of people arrested in dowry death cases in India in last five years and a total number of people acquitted?
From the records given by them, we find that in 2010 there were maximum 2163 deaths convicted of dowry death in India. This is about 6 deaths every day. Or one every four hours.
The popular feminist propaganda is we have one ‘Bride Burning‘ every hour. Please note the difference in the terms used. To understand this difference, I have asked NCRB about the mode of death in these cases. The answer is – NCRB does not maintain any records of that.
If NCRB which is the central repository of our crime related records, does not have any record then who maintains the details of ‘Bride Burning‘? or is ‘Bride Burning‘ a big hoax? Then I turned to IPC 304B to understand the definition of Dowry Death.
This section of our IPC says ‘Any unnatural death of a woman within seven years of marriage is recorded as dowry death”.
So any woman who dies within seven years of her marriage by any unnatural circumstance or commits suicide is recorded as dowry death. So now we know that dowry death DOES NOT MEAN bride burning. In fact, it does not mean that “the death is because of dowry” only. Also, a similar record of death within seven years of marriage is not maintained for men, because there is no criminal section for maintaining that.
For example, from NCRB 2013 suicide stats based on marital status, we find the following information –
This record shows suicide victims irrespective of years of marriage. But since in all status groups the number of men committing suicide outnumbers that of a number of women, the question remains then why is men’s suicide within seven years of marriage is not recorded?
This RTI and related graph make one clarification, that in India we exaggerate all crimes against women, and a closer look tells us that women’s groups, lawyers, and police are the biggest beneficiaries.
One may argue that why should there be any single death related to dowry? The question is very valid. But when the definition of “dowry death” is faulty how can we even expect to track the same?
Now let us look at how these dowry death cases are convicted. In the latest judgment, the Supreme Court has defined the cruelty under dowry death –
Please note, that in this case, it was established that the girl committed suicide after being fed up with torture of her own parents but it was still registered as a dowry death complaint. Also note, that in this case the parents of the girl were not convicted for abetting the suicide. Don’t you think the murderers still got away with a murder only because they were related to the girl and the husband and his family went through unnecessary legal torture only because he was a man?