Ever-escalating dowry demands represent a real financial burden to the parents of unwed daughters. Young brides may take severe punishment from their husbands if promised money or goods do not materialize. Sometimes dowry harassment ends in the wife's suicide or murder, that is usually committed by setting her afire with kerosene and then claiming she died in a kitchen accident.
In India in 1991, it was estimated that there were 2,449 dowry deaths, with one a day in New Delhi. The figure reported for 1987 was 8,906. A women's group estimated some 1,000 women may have been burned alive in Gujurat State in 1987.