Dowry killing mocks Nepal PM’s resolve

February 3rd, 2009 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 3 (IANS) He led a 10-year guerrilla war against the government and succeeded in ending Nepal’s centuries-old institution of monarchy. But Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is facing a far more tougher challenge as he battles to eradicate social evils that continue to flourish despite a newly declared ban.Almost 10 days after the former revolutionary pledged to ban the system of dowry in Nepal, a killing has been reported from the southern lowlands.

An 18-year-old woman from Rajpur village in Kapilavastu district was allegedly killed by her husband and father-in-law for failing to bring a wedding gift of NRS 50,000 from her parents, Nepal’s state media reported Tuesday.

Jhinki Kewat was found hanging at her residence, the Gorkhapatra daily said. Her father Bhagwan Das Kewat has filed a complaint with police, alleging that she was killed by her husband and his father over dowry demands.

According to the dead teen’s father, she was married at the age of 14 due to the family’s poor economic condition. Since her marriage, she was mistreated by her husband and his family who had been demanding money, the father told police.

According to the complaint, the son-in-law, Ram Bahadur Kewat, had sent Jhinki home last week, telling her to bring NRS 50,000 from her parents, or else never return.

“I didn’t have the money and persuaded her to go back,” the weeping father told police.

The post-mortem report has found marks on the dead woman’s body, raising fears that she was beaten. The husband and his father, Narayan Kewat, have been arrested.

The incident comes fresh on the heels of Nepal’s media reporting how the principal of a state-run primary school in Sunsari threw his wife out for her parents’ inability to gift him a motorcycle.

Demands for dowry - cash gifts to the groom as well as other valuables - are rampant in the Terai plains along the India-Nepal border.

Last month, Prachanda made an address to the nation, in which he vowed to ban dowry within a week.

But the prohibition has gone unheeded in the plains where village administrative groups also support the demands for dowry.

The defiance by Bishnu Dayal Mehta, the errant principal, has reached the ears of the premier, who has reportedly asked the administration, including principal secretary Bhoj Raj Ghimire, to take action against him.

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