WHAT IS HONOUR KILLING

An honour killing can be defined as:
‘Honor crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce — even from an abusive husband — or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonours” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.’[1]

‘Honor killings are not new to rural India especially in the regions of Hariyana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. But then such cases are not just restricted to the rural areas. They are also heard of in our capital and in the southern states like Kerela, Tamil Nadu etc. The Aarushi Talwar Case and the killing of Kuldeep and Monica[2] are speculated to be such killings.

Our country has been very selective about the kind of development it has undergone. On an international level with the nuclear deal, 8% growth rate and the recognition India is enjoying to voice its opinion, it seems that ‘India is shining’. But dig deeper into the dark secrets of this developing nation and we still find rampant killings of young couples by their own family members to save their honour because of the incest committed by the couple. Their crime: living in the same village and getting married.

According to the ‘conservative’ khap panchayat, marriage between people of the same village is considered incest as they are siblings and hence these marriages are not valid. So the panchayat orders the murder of the couple and hangs their body in the village crossing as an example to other straying couples.

In India, with its patriarchal society, women are considered as property and the vessel of family’s honour. And any act which might blot the family’s prestige renders an absolute right to the male members to murder the girl, undo her wrongs and win back the honour.

Such crimes as well as such criminals have been breeding under the political blessings of the political parties mainly interested in the vote banks of these villages and the support of the khap panchayat.

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