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Honour killing in India
Twinkle | 29 Jan 2011

An honour killing is carried out when family members murder another family member who has brought disgrace and shame on the family. Usually, in India, it takes place over an 'inappropriate' relationship or marriage outside caste or religion.

TODAY I read the newspaper with a heavy heart. It was about a suspected case of honour killing. A 17-year-old youth, a student of 10+2 was found murdered in the field of Jui Village of Bhiwani district on Wednesday night.
 
From the condition of the body, it was clear that the youth had been brutally tortured by giving him electric shocks, while some parts of his body were found to have severed. Police suspects that his friendly relationships with a girl of same village and same caste could have been the reason behind his brutal murder.

For people who just returned from a trip to mars, here is a brief introduction to HONOUR KILLING

An honour killing is carried out when family members murder another family member who has brought disgrace and shame on the family. Usually, in India, it takes place over an “inappropriate” relationship or marriage outside caste or religion.

Research indicates that the majority of honour killings happen in the north Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Bihar. Honor killings are rare to non-existent in south India, and also the western Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. There have been no honor killings in West Bengal in over 100 years, thanks to the influence and activism of reformists like Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

The usual remedy to such murders is to suggest that society must be prevailed upon to be more gender-sensitive and shed prejudices of caste and class. Efforts should be made to sensitize people on the need to do away with social biases. But equally, it should be made clear that there is no escape for those who take justice into their own hands.
 
So far, there is no specific law to deal with honour killings. The murders come under the general categories of homicide or manslaughter. When a mob has carried out such attacks, it becomes difficult to pinpoint a culprit. The collection of evidence becomes tricky and eyewitnesses are never forthcoming.

Like the case of Sati and dowry where there are specific laws with maximum and minimum terms of punishment, honour killings, too, merit a second look under the law. In many cases, the victims who run away with 'unsuitable' partners are lured back home after FIRs are filed by their families.
 
The police cannot be unaware that in many cases they are coming back to certain death at the hands of their relatives and fellow villagers. Yet, pre-emptive action to protect them is never taken. Undoubtedly, the virus of caste and class that affects those carrying out such crimes affects the police in the area too. But that can be no excuse to sanction murder. Active policing and serious penal sanctions is the only antidote to this most dishonorable practice.

Shameful as it may sound, such things still exist in many parts of the country. When I look at India as a whole I see two different worlds. First, those living in the city, who are progressing not only economically and technologically, but also in terms of their ideas and outlook towards their lives. Then, those in the villages who are still bound by the rigid beliefs of the caste system that existed hundreds of years ago and refuse to move ahead. Where will these two worlds meet?
I am not against the traditional belief systems that exist in India. But what baffles me is the fact that so many innocent lives are lost in the name of this belief.
 
It hampers the growth of a human mind and forces it to live within the illusionary world that it has created for itself. There is a strong need for government intervention. The government needs to enforce strict measures to stop honour killings. There should be a ban on all decisions made by these self appointed courts in the villages. They have proved fatal for many innocent lives. India is world’s largest democracy and in a country where people have the right to voice their opinions freely, to be young and to marry the person of your choice shouldn’t be fatal anymore.

What can we do to prevent such a thing from happening? Firstly, the mentality of the people has to change. And when we say that the mentality has to change, we mean to say that parents should accept their children’s wishes regarding marriage as it is they who have to lead a life with their life partners and if they are not satisfied with their life partner then they will lead a horrible married life which might even end in suicide. Secondly, we need to have more strict laws to tackle these kinds of killings as this is a crime which cannot be pardoned because Humans do not have the right to write down death sentences of innocent fellow humans.