Honor killing, most often, the homicide of a female or woman by way of male household members. The killers justify their movements by using claiming that the sufferer has delivered dishonor upon the household identify or prestige.
HONOR KILLING IN INDIA.
Indian society is a multicultural and pluralistic society where a lot of beliefs and faith regulate the human life of the citizens. The Indian spiritual holy books i.e., The Bhagvad Gita, The Mahabharata, The Quran, The Bible, etc., have been the model of thinking pattern on Indian Society. People are also influenced by the caste system and other traditional practices, which they believe to follow throughout their lives. And one such thing, which Indian people consider very precious, is Honor. In a patriarchal society, women are considered as bearer of honor of the family. This perception is so well entrenched that any attempt by women to assert their rights is seen as an attack on the cultural norms of the community and is strongly countered. And these counter activities taken by the family in the name of honor is known as Honor Killing. Women are targeted for various reasons, including, inter caste or inter religion marriage, refusal to enter into arranged marriage, being victim of sexual assault, seeking divorce even from an abusive husband or (allegedly) committing adultery. Sometimes men also fall victim of such killings, such as by members of women’s family with whom he is perceived to have an inappropriate relationship. Though there are no specific laws on such killings, certain other provisions in statutes are used to punish the perpetrators. Due to this, such crimes go unreported or are passed off as suicide or natural deaths by the family members involved.
REASONS FOR PREVALENCE OF HONOUR KILLING.
Honor Killing is often associated with the term “Honor”. In defining honor, many theorists emphasize the power of the parallel concept of shame. Honor is a concept, which is always linked with women of the family. And men are considered to monitor women and prevent women from abusing the so-called honor. This shows the patriarchal design still prevalent in our society. Men are allowed to move freely during late hours while women are not allowed to do so. From the way a women dress to the person she marries are related with the honor of the family. Women’s rights and their will and choices are seen as oppression against these social norms and traditions. Hence, only when people become open minded and respect the choices of women or men in deciding their personal life, these honor killings can come to an end.
The existence of caste system in Indian Society is a curse on the nation and will soon destroy the better. Though many reforms are brought in law, many documentaries and value education is given to people, this view towards caste is still stable. Where on inter-caste marriage is denied by certain cultural groups, certain intra caste marriage is also denied as a person is not allowed to marry in his/her gotra (Singhal or of their parents gotra. And not only inter-caste marriage leads to large number of honor killings but also inter religious marriages. The National Commission of Women.
Khap Panchayats are a group of persons or a community organization especially found in villages and in Northern India to exert a social influence within the community. Khap panchayat take law in their own hands and indulge in offensive activities which endanger the personal lives of persons marrying according to their free will. There are many judicial decisions provided by the Courts against the action of Khap Panchayats. One such landmark case is Smt Laxmi Kachhwaha v. The State of Rajasthan (1999). In this case a Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Rajasthan.
No separate and strict laws
Honor killings though seen as a customary crime is not yet recognized in Indian Laws. In spite of increase in honor related crimes and judgments and expressions of outrage in Courts across India, the Governments have displayed criminal negligence in their approach to these crimes. There is no definition of the crime, no legal recognition of various aspects of the crime, no protection afforded to self- choice couples, no measures to prevent such crimes, no accountability and no punishment.
These killings are reported only under two categories – Murder (section 302 of Indian Penal Code) and Culpable Homicide (Section 304 of IPC). Due to this, most of the killings were unreported or reported under murder. Hence there is no proper statistics of such killings in India.
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