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Indian mothers-in-law campaign for protection

  • Story Highlights
  • Thousands of Indian brides are alleged to be killed each year over dowries
  • Killings are suspected of being committed by their in-laws
  • Campaigner: Mothers-in-law often portrayed in Indian film, TV as vamps
By Harmeet Shah Singh
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Some 50 mothers-in-law have come together in a campaign seeking legal protection from what they allege is abuse of laws favoring daughters-in-law in the country.

"There are a number of laws to protect daughters-in-law in India, but there is none to protect us," said Neena Dhulia, coordinator of the newly-launched All India Mother-in-Law Protection Forum.

The group was formed last Sunday in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, she told CNN.

In India, thousands of brides are alleged to be killed each year over dowries.

Such killings, suspected of being committed by their in-laws, are mostly described as kitchen accidents.

A tiny percentage of these murderers are brought to justice, according to UNICEF. But Dhulia insisted daughters-in-law often use India's tough anti-dowry law to settle scores.

"Our primary aim is to raise awareness in society about the state of mothers-in-law," she said.

Dhulia regretted that Indian films and soap operas too portrayed mothers-in-law mostly as vamps.

"The stereotyping of mothers-in-law as evil and blood thirsty by media and popular culture. This violates the civil liberties and the constitutional provisions of right to liberty and right to life," the group said in its launch statement.

For a start, the forum, consisting of women older than 50, is holding park meetings in Bangalore every week.

"We are receiving encouraging responses from all over," she claimed.

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