“I am in a dilemma. I know my parents will never accept him. He is a Muslim. But he is my everything! I cannot live without him. God! What should I do? Should I run away with him? No no! I cannot do that to my family! Please God! Help me!”
Jasvinder wrote in her diary how much her boy friend Yusuf meant to her just two days before she was found with her throat slit round the corner of her lane. Her father, a pure-bred Sikh, proclaimed with pride that he has removed the filth that was part of his family. Not for a second was he filled with remorse for losing his only daughter. Even his three elder sons did not stop before killing their little sister whom they had adored and were so proud of just a few days back. “She dishonored us! She broke the honor code of the family! ” stormed one of her brothers.
What was Jasvinder’s fault? What filthy work did she do to dishonor her family? Well, she fell in love with a Muslim boy and asked her father whether she could marry him. Yes, that was her crime…the “filthy” crime.
According to a report by the United Nations, one in every five cases of honor killing internationally every year comes from India. Out of the total 5000 honor killing cases last year, 1000 were reported from India. Well some NGOs increment this figure to four times the present figure. If we include the reported as well as the unreported cases, there are around 20,000 cases of honor killing in India every year.
Honor killing traditionally occurred in the small Indian villages where the light of literacy and awareness had still not arrived. Well you would be thinking that such menace can never touch upon the city people who are well educated and better aware. I hate to say this but you are wrong! The cases of honor killing have been on the rise sporadically even in the Indian cities. The double murder of a 14-year old school girl and 50-year old domestic help in the New Delhi suburb region has received unprecedented attention and it is one of urban India’s most hyped murders with the subtext of honor killing. And the sad part is that her parents, who are convicted for the murders, were well – educated dentists. If educated people behave so immaturely then how can we expect the illiterate ones to not do something that their literate counterpart did?
There are tons of cases in India where couples are being slaughtered to death for defying their family values. With cases piling up at such a fast rate, providing justice has become a great issue. There has been confusions on what crimes constitute honor killings. We do not have a well defined law for punishing the accused. Some families escape punishment by just reporting these killings as suicide. There have been thoughts on starting up a new legislation pertaining to only honor killing.
Why has honor killing become so wide-spread in a modern India? The Khap Panchayats have been receiving an accusing finger for a long time. These self-elected village councils comprising of senior male villagers have perpetuated certain values that in turn endorse these killing in the name of saving the family’s honor!