Amid a few shocking cases of dowry-related deaths recently coming to light in Kerala, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday morning began a day-long fast at the Raj Bhavan to create social awareness against the practice of dowry.
Khan is fasting in response to a call issued by various Gandhian organisations attempting to create awareness against the custom of taking and receiving dowry and to end atrocities against women.
These developments come in the backdrop of the death of a 24-year-old woman, Vismaya, who was found hanging inside her husband's house in southern Kollam district on June 21. Her husband S Kiran Kumar, an assistant motor vehicle inspector, was arrested soon after based on a complaint filed by her parents and brother, who alleged that he had tortured and harassed her over dowry. Vismaya’s death sent shockwaves across Kerala.
Another 24-year-old woman was found dead with burn injuries at her rented home where she was staying with her husband in coastal Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram on June 22.
Amid these deaths, Governor Khan began his fast at 8 am today and he will continue till 6 pm, Raj Bhavan sources said. This may be the first time in Kerala’s history that a governor is fasting for such a social cause.
The Governor would also take part in a prayer meeting to be organised at the Gandhi Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram later in the evening before ending the fast, Raj Bhavan sources said.
Meanwhile, a dawn-to-dusk fast was progressing at Gandhi Bhavan where several Gandhians were taking part in the drive under the aegis of the Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi and other such outfits.
In a video message issued last evening, Khan said dowry is a "grave injustice and ignominy to the dignity of women" whose contributions to Kerala's growth are widely acknowledged.
The Gandhian organisations said the programme aims at ending atrocities against women and to address the need to make Kerala a safer place for them.
Last month, Khan had made an emotional appeal to women to say no to dowry when it was demanded during the time of marriages and expressed willingness to be part of any "organised" voluntary movement to create awareness against the menace.
(With PTI inputs)