Thiruvananthapuram: In response to an increase in dowry harassment allegations in the state, the Kerala government has altered its dowry prohibition legislation to establish ‘dowry prohibition officers’ in each of the state’s 14 districts.
The role of dowry prohibition officers had already existed on a regional basis in three districts — Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode — and had now been expanded to all districts, according to State Health Minister Veena George.
In each district, the district women and child development officers would serve as dowry prohibition officials, she added in a statement.
The Director of Women and Child Development has been appointed as the Chief Dowry Prohibition Officer as part of the effort.
The employment of the dowry prohibition officers is part of the government’s efforts to combat dowry, which is on the rise these days, according to George.
She said the government has already invited expressions of interest from voluntary organisations to assist women with dowry cases, noting that the first phase of district officer training had been completed.
Aside from that, she noted, initiatives have been done to establish district advisory committees and enhance awareness campaigns.
The minister noted that awareness classes on gender and rules for women are being held in conjunction with colleges and National Service Schemes.
In the aftermath of a number of dowry-related fatalities that shocked the State recently, the LDF government has announced a range of measures to discourage the decades-old practise of paying and accepting dowry as part of marriages.
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan recently performed a day-long fast to call attention to the threat. He also asked institutions to require a commitment from students seeking admission, stressing that they will not accept dowry.
A ‘Say No to Dowry’ campaign against dowry atrocities on women was also launched by state police.