One woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes, indicating that the country's economic boom has made demands for dowries even more persistent, women's rights activists said yesterday. The National Crime Records Bureau says 8,233 women were killed across India last year because of disputes over dowry payments given by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. The conviction rate in dowry-related crimes remained a low 32%.
Dowry demands often continue for years after the wedding. Each year, thousands of young Indian women are doused with gasoline and burned to death because the groom or his family felt the dowry was inadequate. Indian law prohibits the giving or receiving of a dowry, but the centuries-old social custom persists. Women's rights activists and police said that loopholes in dowry prevention laws, delays in prosecution, and low conviction rates have led to a steady rise in dowry-related crimes. (Read more dowry stories.)