Kochi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that young women should be encouraged to reject proposals where dowry demands are made, and public opinion has to change with regard to the practice.
Vijayan's remarks come in the wake of the suicide by a female post-graduate medical student after the doctor she was set to marry allegedly backed out of the proposal as her family couldn't meet his family's hefty dowry demand.
"If someone demands dowry, they (women) should be able to strongly reject such proposals. Society and families need to support them for that," Vijayan said.
Responding to questions at a press conference here, the chief minister said the society should view such instances seriously and that the government was viewing the matter seriously to take suitable steps.
"At the same time, it is also the responsibility of the parents and families of girls and women to prevent such practices," Vijayan said. To strengthen our society, we need to ensure that young women and girls become more confident, he added. There should be general awareness that demanding and accepting dowry is wrong, he said.
"The public and societal mindset needs to change. We should also be able to take strong legal measures against such practices," the CM added.
Shahana (26), a postgraduate student in the surgery department of the Government Medical College here, was found unconscious at her apartment and later declared brought dead at the hospital on Tuesday.
Shahana allegedly took the extreme step as she was depressed due to a big dowry sought by the groom's family, her family had alleged.
Based on their statements, her friend Ruwais, who is also a postgraduate doctor in the same college, was taken into custody from Karunagappally today.