Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Violence against women continues in Nepal. A 16-year-old
Muslim woman was set on fire over dowry. Rushed to a Kathmandu hospital, Shiwa
Hasami died from her injuries. When Nepali media reported the event yesterday,
it sent shockwaves across the country. Human rights activists and associations
organised demonstrations against violence against women, who are often victimised
in the name of religious and ethnic traditions.
At present, little is known about the case. Initially, police arrested
her groom-to-be, Babu Khan, 23, on suspicious that he tried to kill her because
she refused to run away with him. Now police are turning their attention to the
young woman' brother, Tanbir Ahmed, and other family members as the main culprits
in the murder.
"Her brother Tanbir Ahmed had warned Shiwa not to marry Babu Khan
because his father had demanded a 200,000 rupee dowry, something huge for the
Hasami family, which is poor," said Police Superintendent Ramkripal Sah, who is
investigating the case.
Refusing to pay dowry is something dishonourable among Muslims and
Hindus. For the police officer, the brother or another member of the family
decided to punish the young woman for wanting to get married even without a
dowry, placing the family in a difficult situation.
Dowry-related murders are widespread in South Asia. According to India's
National Crime Records Bureau, 8,391 people died in dowry-related cases in
2010. In at least another 90,000 additional cases, husbands and the in-law
family have tortured or otherwise abused women.
In predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, at least 325 women were tortured and
killed over dowry disputes in 2011 alone.
Nepal is no exception. Here police have recorded hundreds of cases of
domestic violence due to dissatisfaction by husbands and their families over
dowries, the highest number of cases among Muslims and Madeshi.
Superintendent Ramkripal Sah noted however, that Shiwa's case was the
first in which the victim's family was responsible for the violence.
Muslim leader Nazrul Hussan Falahi said that Islam has nothing to do
with the problem, which is mostly due to sick minds and poverty.