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Thursday, 15 July 2010

THE NOT SO HONOURABLE HONOUR KILLINGS

Honour killings are an issue that all of us are familiar with. However in the recent past this social evil has crossed the borders of the so-called orthodox villages & has entered the hearts of various metro cities inhabited by the ‘educated’. This issue was never so prominent but today is a major challenge staring us in our faces.



One of the many cases of honour killings which brought this evil in light was the murder of a cab driver by the family of the girl he was involved with. The girl’s family was opposed to the relationship as they had issues with the boy’s caste. The boy who was the sole bread-winner of the family left behind a grieving & shocked family. Next came the Ashok Vihar (Northwest Delhi) triple murder case. In this case a couple, Monica & Kuldeep who hailed from Wazirpur had eloped & married. After the acceptance of their marriage with certain reservations, the village elderly advised them to shift out of the village as they would have been bad influence on the village youngsters. This couple was murdered by the girl’s brother Ankit with help from one of his friends’ Mandeep. Ankit is said to have been provoked by Mandeep who considered Monica responsible for negatively influencing his (Mandeep’s) sister Shobha. Shoba had eloped with a man out of her community & had later returned home. After murdering Monica & Kuldeep, Shobha was also murdered.


Several other cases of such killings have been pouring in regularly. In Gujarat a brother beat his sister to death as he didn’t approve of her relationship with her partner, in South Delhi a father murdered his daughter & her partner who, the father alleges was already married.


In all these cases what comes as a major shock is the fact that the perpetrators don’t show any traces of regret or remorse despite having murdered someone who they shared a blood relationship with.


Whenever the honour killings are mentioned the khap (caste based) panchayats automatically come into discussion. These panchayats put caste above everything else. Any member of the community who marries out of community or dares to challenge them in any way is seen as a blot on the community’s honour that has to be ‘done away with’. This is the only possible way of restoring honour. These khap panchayats are not recognised by our Constitution but unfortunately they are a parallel government of sorts in various parts of the country. Even in the Ashok Vihar triple murder case the panchayat of the village termed the death of all the three victims as ‘inevitable fate’ for their actions. It is such statements & mindsets that are providing the much dreaded impetus to this crime.

Awareness amongst the masses against this heinous crime, stringent law to crack down specifically on khap panchayats & honour killings are the need of the hour. Killing someone for any reason, be it settling personal scores or soothing a bloated sense of honour is a murder & cannot be justified on any grounds. Because two people want to be together & a third one doesn’t approve of it is one extremely lame reason to end their lives. It is time the ‘wise elders’ & other people stopped poking their noses into the lives of others & started respecting the choices made by individuals for their own lives.