Amid concerns across the state over recurring incidents of alleged dowry harassment, the Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, V D Satheesan on Friday launched an 'anti-dowry help desk' at his office here to help affected women.
Women who suffer mental and physical abuse in connection with dowry can avail of free legal aid at the help desk after calling on the designated toll-free number.
A network of 87 lawyers, attached to various courts in the state, would provide necessary legal support at the desk for the needy, Satheesan said after inaugurating the initiative jointly with state Congress veteran and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and playback singer Aparna Rajeev here.
The Leader of Opposition urged institutions and outfits in the state to open similar help desks.
Criticising the practice of giving and receiving dowry, he said murders and suicides related to the menace had been reported in the southern state recently.
"Marriages after giving and accepting dowry should no longer take place in Kerala. Boys and girls should decide not to take or give dowry," the Congress leader said.
He added women should be convinced that divorce is better than suicide in the name of dowry and society should give them the confidence to fight challenges in life. The help desk was launched as part of the second phase of the "With Our Daughter" campaign organised by Satheesan against the dowry menace, Congress sources said. Recently, the death of Vismaya, an Ayurveda medical student who was found dead in her husband's house under mysterious circumstances after she had complained of dowry harassment, had triggered a widespread outrage against the menace in the state.