Dowry related violence rises amid pandemic
Various forms of violence against women have increased amid the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Of them, torture and killing of women due to dowry has increased significantly.
Many experts think that job loss due to Covid-19 and proliferation of violence against women are interlinked as many people who have lost jobs during the pandemic have been found to have committed such crimes including the dowry-related violence.
Advocate Salma Ali, Executive Director of the Bangladesh National Women Lawyer's Association, said that such cases have been prevailing since long but, of course, there is a link with the Covid-19 for the spurt.
"The number of cases of domestic violence, especially against women has increased tremendously for many reasons. A good reason is both women and men have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 outbreak," she said.
But such a situation makes women more vulnerable because when a man loses his job, in most of the cases, he makes pressure on his partner to collect money from her maternal place to make up for the loss. If she fails then a woman face various forms of violence.
"Such violence could range from physical to mental torture, when her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law continue to orchestrate such torture on her while demanding dowry even sometimes they kill her," she said.
On 14 September Nargis Akter, wife of one Shafiqul Islam, was beaten up by her in- laws; they not only
beat her, but also reportedly cut her hair short over dowry.
She lives in Moheshpur village, under Ullapara Upazila in Sirajgang along with her in laws.
Talking to the Daily Observer, a couple of neighbours complained that she had been undergoing different abuses in the hands of her in- laws for the past 11 years.
After the assault she was admitted to the Sirajgang 250 -Bed Bangamata Sheikh Fazilitunnesa Mujib General Hospital.
Another story- on 13 September in the current year, a housewife named Tasmim Akter Mim died at the Dhaka Medical Collage and Hospital.
Mim is the daughter of Md Mohibul Alam, an office assistant in the Kamirhat Secondary High School in Kushtia.
She was married to Ajaj Ahmed Bappi, son of Jinna Molla in Taragunia village under Doulatpur upazila four years ago.
Very often she had faced mental and physical torture by her husband and other members of her family over dowry.
The last time on September 1st Mim was beaten up mercilessly and admitted to the Kushtia Sadar Hospital, later she was brought to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, where she died.
This is one of the many stories of such brutal violence against women but hundreds of such incidents have remained out of sight due to the Covid-19 pandemic as people are struggling for their survival, said Ayesha Khanam, President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad ( BMP). She said that the number increased in the recent months could be one of reasons for people's sudden financial crisis due to Covid-19.
"We are being informed about such violence against women from different parts of the country," she said.
Different forms of violence against women have increased for many reasons but, of them, a good number of cases are because of dowry, she said.
However, earlier talking to the Daily Observer, Elina Khan, President of Bangladesh Human Rights Association, said they were being informed about such violence against women from different parts of the country.
Many victims of violence are not willing to seek police help as they doubt whether they will receive justice, she added.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad in a statement on Wednesday expressed its grave concern over the rise of violence against women as well as children and demanded proper action against the perpetrators involved.
The organization demanded fair and impartial investigation against the suspects, ensuring punishment for the criminals. They also urged the authorities concerned to show zero tolerance towards such violence.
According to data gathered by BMP, cases of violence against women over dowry on July was about 14, of them seven women was killed, and nine faced physical tortures. In June about ten women were killed and a total of 14 women faced physical torture.
In March about ten women were tortured and two were killed over dowry.