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    » 12/13/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL - ISLAM

    Would-be bride, 16, set on fire over dowry

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Shiwa Hasami died yesterday in a Kathmandu hospital from her injuries. Police arrested her would-be groom but eventually focused on the young woman's family because it could not pay the huge dowry (US$ 2,300) demanded by the future groom's family.

    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.

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    See also

    23/03/2009 NEPAL
    Nepali Muslims want constitution to incorporate Sharia-based personal law
    The Nepal Muslim Sangh wants the country’s Muslim community to be recognised as a distinct entity. Muslim leaders tell government and parties that Muslims are not just a “vote bank”, demand specific steps in favour of Muslims.

    19/09/2007 NEPAL
    Sectarian violence breaks out between Hindus and Muslims
    The killing of a Muslim leader in Kapilvastu district (perhaps at the hands of Maoists) unleashes sectarian violence between the two groups. Hundreds of homes are torched; hundreds of people are hurt and many are killed. Now police are in control of the situation.

    21/03/2013 NEPAL
    Govt sets up special commission for Christian cemeteries
    Nepal's interim government under Khil Raj Regmi is behind the commission. It will select burial locations before 15 July, ending decades of dispute between Hindus and Christians. The lack of space has forced minorities to bury their dead one on top of the other, up to ten per tomb.

    01/04/2014 NEPAL
    Nepal's religious minorities tell government to be "secular" and not just support Hindus
    Nepali authorities are spending millions on Maha Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival, helping set up free accommodations for 10 million people. Christians, Muslims and Buddhists are united in demanding equal treatment for all. Protestant leader slams the authorities for ignoring Christian demand for "land to turn to build a cemetery," something that "is not fair," he says.

    21/05/2012 NEPAL
    Christians, Muslims and Hindus for coexistence without confrontation
    In the past 25 days, tribal groups have brought the country to a halt with strikes and violent demonstrations ahead of 28 May, date when the new constitution will come into effect. Tribals want an ethnically based federal state. The government deploys troops to avoid more clashes between ethnic minorities and Hindus.



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