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Honor killing in India

The various cases of Honour killing in India have been reported from North India especially Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Rajasthan. Honour killing also known as customary killing means killing the member of one community by members of same community or social groups as the victim has brought some disgrace to the family. It is mostly directed towards girls and women.

There are various beliefs in the minds of community members from a long time ago, resistance of which result in sacrificing the life of an innocent in the name of honour killing. According to them, dishonour to a community can be brought due any of the following reasons

  1. Non acceptance of dress
  2. Desire to get married according to his/her choice
  3. Act of homosexuality
  4. Inter-caste marriage and many more that varies from community to community .The united nation population fund has estimated that approximately 5000 girls and women has been murdered by their own families but the number is beyond expectation as the such cases are not brought in limelight and are suppressed.

I am not saying that honour killing is in case of only women ,in practice it is also applicable in males as well. For example, during the year 2002 in Pakistan, it is estimated that 245 women and 137 men were killed in the name of Karo-kari in Sindh. These killings target women and men who chose to have relationships outside of their family's tribal or religious community. There are cases in this context seen around the world but since the topic is restricted to india, I will include the cases seen in India. In India, honour killing is a notorious in northern region as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar. In contrast , it is rare in southern region .Not a single case has been seen in West Bengal for a centuary. This can be because of the reforms and activism brought by Swami Vivekanad, Ramakrishnan, Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc. They have done many praise worthy works to uplift the standard of women in society.

Bhagalpur in the northern Indian state of Bihar has also been notorious for honour killings. Recent cases include a 16-year-old girl, Imrana, from Bhojpur who was set on fire inside her house. The victim had screamed for help for about 20 minutes before neighbours arrived, only to find her still smoldering. She was admitted to a local hospital, where she later died from her injuries. In May 2008, Jayvirsingh Bhadodiya shot his daughter Vandana Bhadodiya and struck her on the head with an axe. It is really shocking to see that a mother, father, brother is murdering one's own son, daughter whom they have given life and love their whole life just for the community sake .Moreover ,it is sad to see that they do not feel guilty to perform this dirty act.

In 1990 the National Commission for Women set up a statutory body in order to address the issues of honor killings among some ethnic groups in North India. This body reviewed constitutional, legal and other provisions as well as challenges women face. The NCW's activism has contributed significantly towards the reduction of honor killings in rural areas of North India. In June 2010, the Supreme Court of India issued notices to the Central Government and six states including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to take preventive measures against the social evil.

My question is that:

Can not they feel and see where the happiness of their children lies? Why is this social barrier above the life of anyone? Why can not anyone live and think independently beyond these hollow traditions prevailing since centuries and followed with blind eyes?

Himani Grover