NEWS: MP Proposes Dowry Ban

While India currently has an anti-dowry law, prohibiting grooms’ families from requesting money and gifts from brides’ families, the United Kingdom has no comparable law. Virendra Sharma, a labour MP, is proposing such a law, arguing that women of South Asian heritage are vulnerable to domestic violence and abuse if their marriages operate on a dowry system. Dowry is common among Sikh and Hindu families in the UK; many women complain that the dowries offered by their families—often worth thousands of pounds—are considered insufficient. While “bride burning” is commonly associated with dowry issues in India, human rights activist Usha Sood states that some Hindu and Sikh women in the UK also face severe forms of abuse and imprisonment, leading to extreme injuries or debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder. However, even if Sharma gains support for his proposal, it is quite possible that dowry practices will continue, as they have in India. Read more here.

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