194 dowry deaths in Tamil Nadu in 2008.docx - 194 dowry...

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194 dowry deaths in Tamil Nadu in 2008 22 Jan 2009, 0306 hrs IST, Lakshmy Ramanathan, TNN Print Email Discuss Share Save Comment Text: CHENNAI: Forty seven years after the demand for dowry was made illegal in the country, Tamil Nadu registered 194 cases of dowry deaths in 2008, according to data collected from the state crime records bureau (SCRB). While proof in the form of charred or partially burnt bodies was available for 57 of these cases, a majority of the other cases had bodily injuries and manifestations of other forms of cruelty as evidence. Till date, however, only one person has been convicted. This gives the state a conviction rate of 0.52%, which is just a shade better than the 0 % conviction rate registered for the year 2007. Though KP Jain, director general of police, was unavailable for comment, legal and medical authorities ascribe the poor rate of conviction to a host of reasons shoddy investigation, hostile witnesses and multiple and often contradictory versions of the incident given by victims themselves moments before their death. "Even though there is a proper legal procedure in place, majority of the fatal burns cases get registered or proven as accidental," says Dr N Srinivasa Ragavan, professor of forensic medicine at government general hospital (GGH). Forensic experts in the city, in fact, say that this is the reason why only a small percentage of fatal burns cases get recorded as dowry deaths.

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