Sordid Saga of ‘honor killing’ in India
Delhi's honour killings: Family says 'well done' : June 2010
We INDIANS, may like to listen that India is going to be world power soon. We are certainly growing economy; we also boost sometime saying that we are more spiritual people in the world. We are one of the oldest civilizations. We may have many things to show the world that we are not less superior.
But here I am putting opposite view. We are not mature enough to claim big things. We are not mature enough to accept that everybody has right to live, everybody has some individual grace which is given by God. We can deny others, even our close one's, the basic right to life for so called beliefs and presumptions that we have developed out of our illiteracy and ignorance.
Few days back, I was stunned to see the news item in Daily, Times of India. It was Brutal killing of minor girl by her own parents and close relatives simply for the reason of her elopement with a boy. Police booked her parents along with other relative for killing but community feelings even dared to protest outside Police station demanding cancellation of police case. Police suspect that after killing she was cremated in hurried and secret way to destroy evidences of crime.
No doubt ‘Killing for honor’ is not new phenomenon in conservative and backward part of our society. There are so many incidents particularly in northern states where male family members attacked female family members and even killed them, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. There are many castes or social groups where female member are not given any chance to explain things, they are simply killed to remove stains on so called honor of society or family.
States like Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are among most notorious states for honor killing. According to data compiled by the Punjab Police, 34 honor killings were reported in the state between 2008 and 2010. These figures are not final as it’s difficult to get precise numbers of honor killing; the murders frequently go unreported. Caste system in India has turned into a social evil for many, where more than 1000 young people are killed every year by their kin, or other members of their caste owing to ‘Honor Killings’. Situation turns more serious when females of family, mothers, mother in laws, sisters, and cousins also supports such incidents. Mentality that work behind such incidents is certainly strong, they listen no logic against.
In another recent incident happened in capital city delhi,Aisha Saini and Yogesh Kumar, both 19, were beaten with metal rods as the girl's family disapproved of the relationship because her boyfriend was from another caste.Police say Ms Saini's family feared she would elope with Yogesh and he was called to her uncle's home on the pretext of discussing the relationship. The couple were beaten with "iron rods and other blunt weapons" before being forced to sit on iron trunks to which live wires were attached and they were electrocuted.The uncle, Om Prakash, was unrepentant and said he did not regret the brutal murders being described as a case of honor killing. He told reporters that he had no regrets about committing the heinous crime.
Very recently father and brother of 20 year old women were sentenced to death for killing her and her husband for marrying within the same Hindu clan. India's top court recommended the death penalty for perpetrators of "honor killings," calling the practice barbaric and feudal.
In June 2010, scrutinizing the increasing number of honor killings, the Supreme Court of India issued notices to the Central Government and six states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to take preventive measures against honor killings.The court said it wanted them to explain what steps they had taken to protect young couples who are being threatened by their families and communities.
Khap Panchayat, community based social groups are playing very vital role in favor of honor killings. Khap is a cluster of villages united by caste and geography. It is as old as 14th century started by upper caste jats to consolidate their power and position. The main rule is that all boys and girls within a khap are considered siblings. Khap panchyat imposes its writ through social boycotts and fines and in most cases end up either killing or forcing the victims to commit suicide. All this is done in the name of brotherhood and its honour.
Very recently in April 2011, stressing that khap panchayats are illegal, and describing the honour killings they order as "shameful and barbaric", the Supreme Court said that police officials and bureaucrats who fail to check them should be punished. In it's verdict Supreme court said, "We have in recent years heard of khap panchayats (known as katta panchayats in Tamil Nadu) which often decree or encourage honour killings or other atrocities in an institutionalized way on boys and girls of different castes and religion, who wish to get married or have been married, or interfere with the personal lives of people...."
I am sorry to say that such measures and directions from Apex court are taken as simple warnings which often go unheard and crime is still going on. Innocents are still being killed in the name of family honor and criminals are portrayed like heroes. Sordid saga of honor killing should be stopped with heavy hands.
Source Reference: Times of India, Chandigarh dated June 24, 2011, NDTV