Murder in the Name of Honour

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An honour killing is the murder of a person accused of bringing shame to his or her family.

Although it may seem like a backward concept, it still goes on in rural parts of India, most notably northern villages. For some families, respect is one of the most important things to preserve, and anyone who has committed an act that goes against their values could face a brutal death.

It is almost surreal that unimaginable killings happen because a woman has married a man from a lower class or doesn’t remain celibate. The main problem is that it is harder to manage crime which goes on in villages as they are further away from main cities where the law functions. Currently, being convicted of an honour killing is illegal and could leave you facing life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

We have to question the police’s role in their inadequacy of handling the criminals. Police that are on patrol in less populated, rural areas fail to investigate suspicious behaviour, as they have been brought up with similar beliefs, but a crime is a crime and the Indian Supreme Court has to create educational schemes that teach families that come from more traditional, conservative backgrounds about what is right and what is wrong.

It mostly boils down to the twisted belief that a man’s status in society is determined by how much power he has over “his” women; it could be his daughter, niece or even cousin. Some young women have had to flee to a city, where they hope to live fear-free and are protected by basic human rights legislation. In 1980, India signed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which shows that the government is very much against honour killings.

In 2015, there were a registered 251 cases of honour killings, but many go unreported. Although Haryana has made the most news about the practice, it is prevalent in other states, for example Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Bihar. These horrific crimes go against what family is about; family should support each other – regardless of loving a man from a lower caste or refusing to submit to arranged marriage. Honour killings must not be mistaken for a tradition in Islam, as murder goes against Allah’s teachings, and so people should not associate it with religion. Unfortunately, religion or protecting the family’s pride is used as an excuse to burn relatives alive or beat them to death.

Will there be an end to this devastating problem?

Global Seven News

Sophia Andersson-Gylden

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