India dowry disputes: Households in Kerala are at struggle over a marriage custom banned many years in the past

India dowry disputes: Families in Kerala are at war over a wedding tradition banned decades ago

Initially, police had no reason to view the 24-year-old student’s death on June 21 as suspicious, until her family made a complaint under the country’s “dowry death” law.

The law allows charges to be brought against people for causing the death or suicide of a woman within the first seven years of her marriage in which the family had promised a dowry — gifts given to a groom’s family when a couple marry.

Dowries have been banned in India for more than 60 years, but the practice persists — and not only in rural and more traditional parts of the country.

Harshita Attaluri, an inspector general of police in Kerala, said investigators have yet to establish whether Nair died by suicide or was murdered.

Police arrested Nair’s husband, Kiran Kumar, under India’s dowry death law. He remains in custody but hasn’t been charged.

Kumar’s lawyer, B. A. Aloor, said Kumar did not commit any dowry-related crime.

“There is nothing on record to show that this gentleman either committed a murder or a…