CHANDIGARH: Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code, Originally framed to shield women from dowry harassment now become a “tool of frame-up”, allegedly being used by women to extort alimony from husbands. At least that seems so from National Crime Record Bureau figures showing 1.65 lakh married men committed suicide between 2005 and 2007 as compared to 88,000 women. Seeking equality for men, an NGO, ‘Save Indian Family Foundation’ (SIFF), while citing these figures, raised the issue of gender bias on the International Men’s Day today. The SIFF along with Parivar Raksha Samiti, Chandigarh, demanded institution of ‘men welfare ministry’, ‘national commission for men’, abolishment of (anti-male) gender biased laws and replacing the word wife in law with spouse. Besides, the NGO also insisted on rationalising the working of the National Commission for Women (NCW) and holding it accountable for “false propagandas”, formation of an ombudsman to regulate the anti-male quotient in media, films and TV and generating awareness about health issues related to men like prostate cancer on the line of breast cancer, short life expectancy and high suicide rate. Vikas Kapur, coordinator of SIFF, said over 22,000 Indian men had ended their life in reverse dowry harassment by their wives against 6,800 suicides by women harassed for dowry. In all the 6,800 suicides by women, their husbands had been sent to jail without any investigation. However, over 68 per cent of the men were later found to be innocent. And in the 22,000 suicides by men, cases had been registered only in six incidents and not a single woman had been questioned as to why their husbands ended life, let alone any punishment. The crime against men has increased at a rate of 42 per cent over the past five years. Not only in crime, in lifestyle, too, women are dominating men, said Kapur, citing statistics showing women's average annual earned income was US $1,471 in 2002, almost three times less than the average for income of men at US $4,723. Still, he said, shopping malls were dominated by women. The representatives of the SIFF stated that though the government earned 82 per cent of taxes from men, it has not spent a single rupee for their welfare or enacted a single law to protect men. On the other hand, more than 98 per cent of men are in armed forces while less than 28 per cent serve in media industry. The prostitution industry is dominated by 99.98 per cent women against 0.02 per cent of men while 70 per cent of women are employed in reception, office telecom, school, bank, etc, jobs, having ease of work with less burden. Among the victims who shared their miseries on Thursday were a former Lt Col from Pathankot, an elderly woman from Chandigarh whose husband died of mental trauma, a software engineer and a man who sought court’s permission to sell off his kidney to raise funds to pay maintenance to his estranged wife.