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‘Honour’ Crimes in India

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‘Honour’ Crimes in India . “India needs new laws to tackle the so-called ‘Honour Crimes’ which attempt to control women’s sexuality and choices”  An honor killing or Honour killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) that the victim has brought Dishonour upon the family or community. Honour killings are directed mostly against women and girls.

‘Honour’ Crimes in India -The perceived dishonor is normally the result of one of the following behaviors, or the suspicion of such Behaviors:

  1. Dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community,
  2. Wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice,
  3. Engaging in heterosexual sexual acts outside marriage, or even due to a non-sexual relationship perceived as inappropriate, and
  4. Engaging in homosexual acts. Women and girls are killed at a much higher rate than men.

It is a form of violence that hides in plain sight. Violence (against men and women both) to prevent a people from exercising her choice in love and marriage is not properly documented, since India does not have a specific law against “Honour” Crimes. To spot such violence and confront it, you need to look beneath the surface and read between the lines of available documentation.

The term “Honour” Crimes in India is somewhat misleading not only because it implies that such crimes are “honourable”. It also gives the impression that these crimes are a product of the “culture” – customs and traditions – specific to certain communities or faiths. Associating such crimes with rigid traditions and certain communities alone prevents acknowledgement of the fact that these crimes are extremely widespread in India, across regions and communities. For instance, in 2010 when Nirupama, a student of journalism, was killed by her family members in Jharkhand for planning to marry her boyfriend from another caste, the then Chairperson of India’s National Commission of Women said that her murder did not count as an “honour” killing because such killings were specific to the Indian state of Haryana where the “khap panchayats” (community councils) exist.

As many as 288 cases of Honour Killing were Reported between 2014 and 2016, the Lok Sabha was informed.Responding to a query in the matter, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir presented the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data related to Honour Killing for the year 2014, 2015 and 2016. According to the data, 28 Honour Killing cases were reported in 2014, 192 in 2015 and 68 in the year 2016 (provisional data).Sixty-five cases of culpable homicide for the motive of Honour Killing have also been reported between 2015 and 2016.However, no such case was reported in 2014, the data presented by Ahir stated.

Article by – Shivam Shukla

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