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Domestic violence kills more than terror strikes

In-house terror, related to dowry, claims more human life in India than activities of militant organizations, including Naxals. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 22, 2011 01:07 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

In-house terror, related to dowry, claims more human life in India than activities of militant organizations, including Naxals.

A new survey released by United Nations on Monday said that there were 8,383 deaths because of domestic violence in 2009 as compared to 2,231 deaths resulting for terror activities including left wing extremism.

In fact, domestic violence is one of the biggest contributors to domestic crime and is on the rise since 2005.

The India Armed Violence Assessment 2011 says that has been a 30 % increase in reporting of domestic violence even though the number of cases registered has not increased proportionally.

"In 2009 police received more than 6.6 million complaints relating to criminal incidents, compared with 5 million in 2005, a figure which represents an increase of 30 %," the report said.

Apart from deaths, about 90,000 complaints of domestic violence were received in 2009, indicating that dowry is considered as a perfect to "get rich quick" and "upward material mobility".

The report quoting a study by the Institute of Development and Communication, said the quantum of dowry exchange may be greater among the upper classes, but 80 % of dowry deaths and 80 % of dowry harassment occurs in the middle and lower strata.

This is despite India having watershed Domestic Violence Prevention Act, 2005. Four states have appointed independent protection officers and others have made ad-hoc arrangements.

“Only Kerala has a permanent cadre of protection officers under the government system,” said Bhumika Jhamb, programme officer at Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability.

Most state governments complain of lack of funds pay for regular protection officers, mandated to enforce the law, and their regular training. The National Commission for Women (NCW) has drafted a scheme to provide Central funding to implement the law which is yet to be accepted by the Women and Child Development ministry.

The report has also highlighted “endemic corruption” resulting in police becoming more susceptible to influence of criminals, unscrupulous politicians, and private entrepreneurs, a cause for complaints not getting registered.

It also said that there was widespread perception that police was not apolitical or impartial to application of law.

An analysis of the hospital records and National Crime Records Bureau data for 2009 showed discrepancy. Hospital records showed homicide rate as almost double of what the NCRB had quoted in its report. This trend is also seen in other countries such as South Africa, Brazil and Russian Federation.

The report also said use of illegal fire-arms in crime was very high and about 10 % of small firearms in the world were in India.

First Published: Sep 21, 2011 19:08 IST