New Delhi: Days after a series of dowry deaths rocked Kerala and kicked up a heated debate on the menace, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday observed a fast to create social awareness against the social evil and end atrocities against women. It may be for the first time in the history of the southern state that any Governor was fasting for such a social cause.
Khan began the fast at Raj Bhavan, his official residence here, by 8 am, urging people to say a big no to the decades-old evil practice. The Governor also attended a prayer meeting organised at the Gandhi Bhavan here later in the evening.
Zee News anchor Aditi Tyagi spoke exclusively to the Kerala Governor after he concluded his fast today by garlanding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Bhavan.
Speaking about the increasing dowry deaths and incidents in the state, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan appealed the public to speak up and starting saying no to the decade-old evil practice and end all atrocities against women. “Our beloved state of Kerala was recently in the news for a tragic death due to dowry. It is said that the spectre of dowry continues to raise its ugly head in our state which has been globally acclaimed for enviable social indicators like literacy and life expectancy.”
“It is a matter of great concern that a 22-year-old ended her life at her house on July 12. I visited her residence and appealed to all NGOs to create social awareness in this regard,” the Governor added.
“Kerala is known for its literacy rate, health sector and social work. Such incidents, where a young girl ended her life as she was being tortured and harassed at her in-laws place over dowry, is a matter of concern,” he said.
Khan said that the one-day fast, which he observed against the dowry cases in Kerala, was called by a few senior Gandhians, adding that it was an honour for him to participate for such a great cause.
Speaking about the literacy rate in Kerala, the state is the most literate state in the country with a 96.2 per cent rate. The male literacy rate is 96 per cent compared to 92 per cent among females in the state, as per the latest data.
The Governor highlighted that people should not use their education or qualifications to seek dowry. He also urged the younger population to come forward to boldly say no to a marriage that involves dowry.
Speaking to Aditi Tyagi, Governor Khan said that he would be writing to Vice-Chancellors in the state that students should be made to sign an undertaking before handing over the degree that he would not demand or participate himself in dowry practice, which is one of the deep-rooted social evils.