High dowries force Daikundi men to attempt suicide
NEILI/BAMYAN CITY (Pajhwok): Lavish weddings and financial woes recently prompted two men in central Daikundi province to commit suicide but they were rescued in the nick of time, residents and officials say.
Heavy expenses on marriage -- a hated traditionthat is conflict with the teachings of Islam -- often trigger disputes, violence against women and force some impoverished men to seek refuge in suicide or high borrowings.
Khuda Dad, a resident of the Khushk Ab village of Khadir district, had no option but to commit suicide after he found it increasingly difficult to repay the money he had pledged to his father-in-law in dowry.
Abdul Qadir Haidari, the town’s administrative chief, said Khuda Dad chose to hang himself with a rope inside his home, but his mother rescued him right at the eleventh hour.
He said Khuda Dad, who had spent 100,000 afghanis on his wedding one year ago, owed about 250,000 afghanis to his father-in-law. One day his father-in-law took his daughter to his home and told Khuda Dad she would stay with him until the loan was returned.
Subsequently, the district chief added, Khuda Dad paid over 90,000 afghanis to his father-in-law and promised to return the remaining amount soon. He also asked the man to let his spouse go with him.
Crime Branch Chief Col. Nawroz Ali Attayee said Khuda Dad had kidnapped a girl before tying the knot with her. The issue was later settled and his father-in-law demanded the bride price that was yet to be paid.
Earlier, another man in the same district opted for suicide due for a similar reason. The man was shifted to hospital where he was diagnosed to have consumed poison. He, however, recovered after sometime.
In Daikundi, the average dowry rate is 250,000 to 600,000 afghanis, forcing many young men to travel to foreign countries to arrange the amount. Jafar, a resident of Neili, managed to pay 300,000 afs in dowry after spending several years in Iran.
He admitted going to Iran was not easy as some of Afghans were shot dead, wounded or turned back by Iranian border forces.Jafar urged families to avoid creating problems between couples through prohibitively high dowry rates.
The Daikundi chapter of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said in addition to women, men also committed suicide -- albeit at a lower rate. The commission head, Mohammad Jawad Dadgar,verified the attempted suicide by two men in Khadir district.
“Some families tease bridesfor the dowry received by their parents. In many cases, violence against newly-married women starts in this way,” he said, calling the current dowry rates unaffordable.
Families should do away with the wrong tradition to let newly-wed couples lead a peaceful life, he remarked. Some 300 cases of violence against women have been reported across the province to the commission this year. Some of them resulted from high dowries.
According to the commission, 17 women attempted to commit suicide. Four of them have died so far this year. In 2014, 15 women tried to commit suicide, but only two of them died.
In addition to violence, unrestrained freedom and lack of adherence to Islam have also contributed to suicides among youth.
Ali Mohammadi, a Daikundi-basedreligious scholar, said suicide incidents were common among women. However, he expressed concern over men resorting to suicide and called for concrete measures to arrest the trend.
Mohammadi, who is also a member of the Shia Ulema Council in Daikundi, explained committing suicide is an un-Islamic act. He regretted the negative trend was morphing into a tradition in the province.
He believed the media could play an effective role in discouraging the unwholesome propensity. The media should help public awareness programmes on Islamicissues and cementing people’s faith in God, he suggested.
Women’s Affairs Director Zakia Rezaee confirmed suicide cases were on the increase in Daikundi. “Women would nolonger remain silent on violence as their access to justice has improved and they can achieve their rights.”
Rezaeeidentified interference by influential individuals in judicial affairs, the leniency shown to criminals, unclear lawson marriage age and unhealthy customs were among the principal causes of domestic violence.
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