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In South Asia, “bride burning” refers to the murder of a newly married woman by her husband or in-laws over what they regard as her inadequate dowry. Reports of bride burnings, also called “dowry murders,” began in India in the 1970s, and incidents have increased over the last three decades. Typically, a bride burning follows a period of “dowry harassment,” where inlaws severely criticize a bride for her paltry dowry and demand that she persuade her parents to give more. Often, the bride's parents will contribute more dowry, hoping this will secure better treatment for their daughter. However, at some point, the bride's family may cease to meet new demands for more dowry. Bride burnings tend to occur at this point.

The perpetrators of dowry murder ...

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