While laws against dowries in India go back to the 1980s, roughly 8,000 women in India died in violent manners last year because their families were unable to pay their dowry. That figure, from the Indian government, is coming to prominence because the country’s supreme court this month cast doubt on the laws, saying they are used by “disgruntled wives” as “weapons” to harass husbands and relatives by accusing them of requiring a dowry. More than 220,000 were arrested on charges of dowry harassment in 2013 (going after the family of the bride for money or gifts). Roughly 90 percent of Indian marriages are arranged, and many of them involve grooms with what is essentially a price tag that the bride’s family must pay. The women who die are killed when their families cannot end up meeting the price.
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