1,000 honour killings in India every year
By Mata Press Service
Nineteen year old Asha was tortured to death along with her
20-year-old boyfriend Yogesh Kumar in north Delhi's Swaroop Nagar
When police found the couple, they had multiple stab wounds.
Police have accused Asha's father, her uncle, her cousin, her aunt and
her mother in the murders.
The family told reporters they "have no regrets whatsoever".
Not too far away from where this couple lived, cousins Shobha and
Monica grew up walking to school together and sharing their secrets.
Monica, 23, fell in love with Kuldeep Singh, 26 and married him with
the help of Shoba four years ago.
Shoba also helped her sister Khushbu, a model, to elope with a man
from another caste.
Shobha, Monica and Kuldeep were each shot twice in the head on the
evening of June 20.
Their suspected murderers are Shobha's brother, Mandeep. The other was
Monica's brother, Ankit. The third was a local boy known to them both.
Earlier in Delhi, 22-year old Nirupama Pathak wanted to marry another
fellow journalist who was her batch mate but hailed from a lower
caste. She was found stangled. Her mother has been arrested.
Last week in Haryana's Fatehabad district, a teen boy and a girl were
found dead under mysterious circumstances and police arrested the two
maternal uncles of the girl for killing the couple.
Shyam Mohammed and Reena, around 17 to 18 years of age, were also
found dead in the open fields in Smain village of the same district.
According to police, Shyam and Reena wanted to marry but their
families and the local village council was against the alliance.
Belgium-based Amritpal Kaur had fallen in love with Lakhwinder Singh,
who belongs to a lower caste, and her parents didn't approve of the
So they lured her to the Sikh holy city of Amritsar and poisoned her last week.
These are just some of the 20 cases of honour killings reported in
Northern India over the past three months.
In addition to brothers gunning down sisters, mothers strangling their
daughters and uncles orchestrating the murders of their kin in the
cities of India, village councils or khap panchayats from Jharkhand,
Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are also enforcing the age old
practice of gotra which prohibits intermarriage within the clan and in
many cases the same village.
All in all, experts believe that more than 1,000 young people in India
are murdered every year in honour killings Chandigarh-based legal
experts Anil Malhotra and his brother Ranjit Malhotra said recently at
the International Child Abduction, Relocation and Forced Marriages
Conference organised by the London Metropolitan University.
In a joint paper, they said: "Forced marriages and honour killings are
often intertwined. Marriage can be forced to save honour, and women
can be murdered for rejecting a forced marriage and marrying a partner
of their own choice who is not acceptable for the family of the
girl….honour killings are basically 'justified' as a sanction for
Stung by international criticism and shocked by the recent spate of
killings, India's political parties of various stripes have all called
for specific legislation to curb this social menace.
But village elders and members of the khap panchayat have warned that
any such legislation will only make matters worse.
In an Indian media report, Rajkumar Numberdar, a khap panchayat leader
of Narnoud village was quoted as saying: "It is not as if girls and
boys did not fall in love earlier. But, of late, it is becoming
difficult to control them because they know they just need to elope
and ask for police protection. If politicians want to foist their
warped ideas on us, why don't they first kill off village elders?"
Another village councilor, Rajveer Dhanda said: "If the government
sends these elopers to jail instead of giving them police protection,
the malaise will be taken care of in no time."
Fabian Dawson, deputy editor-in-chief of The Province newspaper in
Vancouver, Canada, said these so called honour killings not only shame
India but also its vibrant and powerful diaspora around the planet.
"On one hand we have post-modern India signing nuclear deals and on
the other we have a tribal system that kills young people because they
fall in love, giving the impression that India is still in the
medieval era," said the veteran journalist of South Asian descent, who
exposed the sensational honour killing of British Columbian beautician
Jaswinder Kaur in news stories and documentaries. (see
Veteran Bollywood actor Om Puri, who plays a village head against
same-clan marriages in his next film "Khap...A Story of Honour
"This is a very grave topic. It is so disturbing when you see that
these honour killings are not happening in any remote area, but in the
heart of the country. It is creating a bad impression about our
country in the international circuit," Puri told IANS.
Alarmed by the steep rise in suspected honour killings, India's
central government has decided to bring a new bill providing for the
prosecution of the entire khap panchayat for ordering violent
punishment for young couples marrying against their rulings.
Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily said under the new law,
members of khap panchayat, who order the killing of the couples who
dare to go against the dictates of these panchayats will be treated as
accomplices in the crime.
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India's main
political forces also sought strict action against the culprits in
cases of honour killings.
The BJP said that honour killings were cold-blooded murders and
demanded setting up of fast-track courts to deal with such cases.
The Congress favoured a specific law to deal with honour killings.
"If the existing criminal laws of the land are not sufficient, the
government should consider a suitable law," Congress spokesperson
Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters.
– with IANS
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