Banda district. In two separate cases, two pregnant women were burnt alive here on 22 August. Families of both of the women allege that the women were burnt since they didn’t provide the dowry demanded of them.
Simauni village, Baberu block. Three years ago, Sonia married off her daughter Gudiya to Avdhesh, a resident of the Chhaban Talaab area in Baberu. According to Sonia, Avdhesh had demanded a motorcycle at the time of the wedding. Sonia said that since Gudiya’s family was unable to meet this demand, on 22 August 2014, Avdhesh and his family set ablaze a 9-months pregnant Gudiya. “I went to the Baberu police station that very day to lodge a complaint but the police refused to register it,” Sonia alleged.
Rani, Gudiya’s mother-in-law, gave a different version of the incident and said that Gudiya had started the fire herself. “No one from our family was at home at the time of the incident. We also found out about what had happened only from the neighbours.” Add to this, the munshi at the Baberu police station, Umakant Gautam, said that Gudiya was actually fighting with her mother Sonia and had committed suicide because of this. He said that no one from Sonia’s own family had come to lodge a report.
Paprenda village, Tindwari block. Surendra Singh, a resident of Tindwari’s Bendaghat village in Banda had married his daughter, Lovely Devi, to one Aniruddh in 2013. Surendra said that the boy’s family had demanded 2 lakh rupees in cash as dowry. “Since I was unable to pay so much as dowry, my daughter was often beaten up by her in laws and her husband.”
On 22 August, Lovely was 3 months pregnant with her first child. According to Surendra Singh, his daughter’s in laws, poured kerosene on her and burnt her to death. An inconsolable Surendra Singh has lodged a complaint in the Chilla police station.
In his defence, Lovely’s husband Aniruddh said that he had never beaten Lovely and hadn’t demanded any dowry. “Lovely had started the fire herself and now her family is trying to falsely implicate me by levying such charges against me and my family,” he said.
The Station Officer at Chilla police station, R.B. Singh said that an F.I.R. had been lodged in the case and Sections 498A (husband or relative of husband subjecting a woman to cruelty or harassing her), 304B (dowry death within 7 years of marriage) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 (penalty for taking dowry) and 4 (penalty for demanding dowry) of the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 have been slapped against Aniruddh, who was finally put behind bars on 25 August.
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