Human chain to fight dowry
Bihar records 15 per cent of dowry-related deaths in country. In 2016, 987 cases of dowry deaths were registered in Bihar while the total number of dowry-related cases was 4,852.
Patna: Bihar is gearing up to form the world's longest human chain, involving about four crore people, on January 21 to create awareness against child marriage and dowry.
Bihar records 15 per cent of dowry-related deaths in the country. In 2016 alone, 987 cases of dowry deaths were registered in Bihar while the total number of dowry-related cases was 4,852, according to official figures.
The JD(U)-ruled state ranks second in the country after neighbouring Uttar Pradesh in dowry-related cases.
The state government is expecting active public participation from across the state in the human chain initiative. According to officials, a group had been formed to create awareness among people residing in rural areas.
"We want the involvement of more and more people in the anti-dowry campaign. The human chain will be formed at all district headquarters, block and panchayats,” said an official.
According to sources, efforts are also being made to form a map of Bihar through the human chain in Patna's Gandhi Maidan.
This will be the second human chain in Bihar in last one year. The first one was organized exactly a year ago in support of the liquor ban in which according to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar "over four crore people had participated".
In December 2017, chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh issued directives to all district magistrates and superintendents of police to earmark locations where the human chain will be formed.
Government officials and employees, including school teachers, have also been asked to participate in the campaign against child marriage and dowry.
The campaign against dowry and child marriage was launched in Bihar on October 2, 2017. According to JD (U) leaders, about 1,500 people had gathered in Patna when Mr Kumar had called for a massive drive against the social evil.
"People had welcomed the move when the chief minister had urged for a public participation in abolishing child marriage and dowry," JD (U) spokesperson Niraj Kumar told this newspaper.
Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi who was also present during the event had urged the chief minister to introduce tough laws to deal with cases related to child marriage and suggested enacting a legislation under which the elected representatives of Panchayats will be held responsible if child marriages are reported from their areas.
Observers believe that after getting an overwhelming response from people, especially women, for imposing liquor prohibition, the chief minister urged the masses to join him in his effort to weed out social evils such as dowry and child marriage.
Mr Kumar is the first political leader in the country to introduce the campaign against dowry on a massive scale.
While some observers feel that the campaign may prove risky for him electorally, JD(U) leaders dismiss the speculation. "The move has only added to his popularity and with people's support, cases related to child marriage and dowry will come down in the next one year and society in Bihar will change," said a ruling party legislator.
According to reports, the prevalence of child marriage in Bihar is 40 per cent, while dowry-related cases have been a major cause of violence against women in the state. Survey reports suggest that Bihar ranks second in the country when it comes to dowry-related cases.
"This movement will eradicate evils of child marriage and dowry. Active public participation through human chain will involve all members of society to join the fight against these evils," JD (U) leader Niraj Kumar said.