India's 'Angry Brides' game wages war on dowry

A new online game in India called "Angry Brides" which seeks to highlight the problem of illegal dowry demands for women has attracted more than 270,000 fans.

The game by online matchmaker shaadi.com -- inspired by the hugely popular "Angry Birds" game -- sees players attack prospective grooms greedy for dowry with a variety of weapons, from a brick-red stiletto to a broomstick.

The three grooms -- an engineer, a doctor and a pilot -- dodge the attacks while demanding dowries starting at 1.5 million rupees (ê30,000). Each time a player hits a groom, he or she wins money towards a virtual anti-dowry fund.

The game, available as a free application on Facebook, has already attracted more than 272,000 "likes."

"Shaadi.com has always believed that marriage is an institution of love, where there is a place for togetherness, mutual understanding, family values and emotional support but not for dowry!" it said in a statement.

Paying and accepting a dowry in India has been illegal since 1961, but the centuries-old tradition of the bride's parents presenting gifts of cash, clothes, jewellery, even appliances to the groom's family remains strong.

Demands for dowry often persist well past the wedding ceremonies, and in the worst cases, brides are tortured and even murdered if they or their parents do not comply.

According to India's National Crime Records Bureau in 2010, 8,391 women died in dowry-related deaths, and 44 percent of all crimes against women in the country were carried out by their husbands and relatives.

The game can be downloaded at: http://apps.facebook.com/angrybrides/

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