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Dowry deaths claim more than 8,000 women in India each year

Sept. 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

NEW DELHI, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- On average, one Indian woman every hour is killed in a dowry-related dispute, government data indicate.

In 2012, the nation reported 8,233 dowry deaths, or about one every hour, The Press Trust of India reported Sunday. The dowry practice of demanding payment from the family of the bride to the family of the groom has been outlawed officially in India since 1963 but the practice remains widespread, even among the most affluent families in the country, officials said.

Delhi Deputy Police Commissioner Suman Nalwa said the problem is deep-seeded in Indian culture.

"Higher socio-economic strata is equally involved in such practices. Even the highly educated class of our society do not say no to dowry. It runs deep into our social system," she said.

The number of dowry deaths has gone up each year from 2007 to 2011 with a slight decrease in 2012, the Indian National Crime Records Bureau said.

The conviction rate for such crimes remains low: It was 35.8 percent in 2011 ad 32 percent in 2012, the bureau said.

Nalwa criticized police investigations she said are too slow for the poor conviction rates.

"We need quick conviction in such cases. Our judicial procedure has become very slow. Police [do] not record a case at initial stage," she said.

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