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Honor Killings - A Curse to the right to live with liberty

Honor killing is the killing of a family member with the mentality that the concerned member offended the honor of the family or have brought disreputation on the family. Honor killings till date are more often faced by women by her own family.

Society And Honor Killings

Even in the 21st century, the constitutional laws like right to privacy, right to choose, right to marriage of own choice of partner are yet to be accepted by our society. When a girl doesn't want to marry but to set her career, it becomes offensive to the family in most of the places. A person when loves & wants to marry with someone of other caste or religion, he/she brings dishonor on the family. In the case of homosexuality, the love is offended by our society. Where does the right to privacy & right to live with liberty exist?

The evil consequences of such matters lead to honor killings. Yes, murder or homicide or acts of violence or brutality, whatever you say, these are the outcomes if you act beyond society's acknowledgement. Verbal harassment, coercion, assault, kidnapping are the other honor-based violence performed by the family or the society to the fellow who acts without their consent, so as to avoid the so called dishonor.

Could the crimes supported by the society bring out justice? Especially to the woman what justice could be done who marries with someone without her family's wishes, elopes with her partner, and when traced down by her family, she gets henious punishment of her life being snatched. Because according to our so-called society she was a criminal, wasn't she?
EVIDENCE is an organization who fights against honor killings, by helping the victims in legal cases.

In the case of Sripriya & Bhadrakali (2009), Sripriya was from upper community while Bhadrakali was a Dalit. Both of them got married against their family's consent. The couple began living together. But one day, Sripriya's father went to her home with three men and murdered her daughter. When Vincent, the Director of 'Evidence' visited Sripriya's home, asked Sripriya's father, if caste was this much important to him that he had to kill her own daughter. He got the answer that the caste is more important than God.

You know when I discussed about it with my mother, we negotiated for a while & the last sentence she said was, Zindagi samaaj se judi hai aur samaaj jaat se, kitna bhi bhaago inn do chizo se nahi bhaag paoge. I was literally dwelt upon what she said and she was right halfway. We, the people in our society are trapped in the vicious circle of caste stratification. For the sake of preserving our outdated customs and rituals, we manipulate humanity.

Recently, in the Kaushalya's case (June 2020), Kaushalya & her husband Shankar got married and eloped due to unacceptable caste differences. Later, her husband was hacked to death. In honor killings, when it comes to a couple with inter-faith marriages, not acceptable by their family, both of them suffers. And according to the most of the people in our society, the killings are justified as it is done for a cause.

Our society needs to encourage inter-religious marriages. Under the guise of caste system, community differences, they fails to understand the distinction between what's right and what's wrong to do.

Law And Khap Panchayats

In the recent case of Kaushalya that I have mentioned earlier, Kaushalya's father had killed her husband Shankar. When the case went to the court, Kaushalya's father was acquitted of all the charges made against him for killing his son-in-law. Kaushalya could have witnessed against her father in the case. But she stood still and chose not to take the revenge against her family. The Judge got no evidence in her silence.

And the verdict defended the honor killing performed by her father. Is this the way, our Judiciary should work? Legally speaking, the lack of evidence and the absence of separate law following the honor killings, could not make justice. The crime of honor killings treats as 'murder' likely under section 299 & 300 of IPC. And as per the punishment mentioned under section 302 & 304 of IPC, a person convicted of 'honor killings' shall be punished.

But less than 5% of such heinous crime went to the Court because of the so-called justice made by Khap Panchayats. Otherwise, these existing laws where honor killing amounts to murder, could have been enough for justice being prevailed.

In 2014, a 20-year-old girl in Kolkata, West Bengal, was gang-raped by 13 men on orders of Khap Panchayats as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community.

In 2007, in the case of Manoj-Babli, it was the killing of newlyweds ordered by a Khap Panchayat in which the head of this Panchayat received the penalty of life imprisonment by Karnal district court. It was the first time that any Indian Court had done it so in the case of honor killings.

In 2015, as many as 251 people died in the name of honor killings. However, no honor killings have been reported in Crimes in India by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) since 2016 which leads to lack of awareness among the people having the myth that the honor crimes occur for the sake of 'honor'. Indeed, there is nothing honor in such a heinous crime.

Our country portrays itself a developing country. But the caste system, religious faith, orthodoxy, superstitions, male dominated society puts their foot down on the way of evolving India. No wonder, Khap Panchayats are still engaged in old customs. They are the real obstacles on the way of developing India as a democratic country.

There must be a Separate law for honor killings describing the actual and comprehensive definition of the honor crimes following the punishment if performed. The enforcement of such Bill would provide reliable data of the cases of honor killings being performed.

Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances Bill was introduced by Law Commission in 2012 in order to curb activities of honor crimes. However, this bill was not brought up in Parliament. Most of the cases of honor crimes came to be known in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh & Bihar.

In Shakti Vahini v. Union of India (2018), Supreme Court had given various guidelines to prevent honor killings. However, it was an absolute sham.

In August 2019, Rajasthan Assembly moved Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honor & Tradition Bill mandating death penalty against the criminals of 'honor killings'. It could be an effective precedent to introduce special & dedicated legislation at the centre.

The cases of honor killings to be reached in the Court, the accountability & responsibility of the administration is very crucial. Police Officers must record FIR against honor crimes when a victim approaches them. Total protection must be given to the victims of honor crimes. In most of the cases, when a couple elopes, the family of a girl lodges the complaint that their girl has been kidnapped. It is exactly what had happened in Kaushalya's case.

Out of these false allegations, Police apprehends the concerned boy. Police even supports the honor crimes against inter-caste marriages. Police can even arrest the participants of Khap Panchayats who are engaged in honor crimes under Section 151 of CrPC, if needed.

The family members & Khap Panchayats are jointly liable in honor crimes.
Indian Reports in 2018 cited more than 200 hate crimes in India. Out of which, the most common was honor-based violence. Most of them, women faces honor crimes due to male superiority.

Thought of Sacrificing for being a woman must be pulled down.

Kaushalya's case:
https://m.huffingtonpost.in/kathir-vincent/they-killed-my-husband-sa_b_9900086.html

Recent cases of honor killings:
https://m-hindustantimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.hindustantimes.com/amp_topic/honour-killing?amp_js_v=a2&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%3D#aoh=15955851101537&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&share=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hindustantimes.com%2Ftopic%2Fhonour-killing

Evidence organization:
https://www-firstpost-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.firstpost.com/living/how-an-organisation-called-evidence-is-fighting-against-honour-killings-by-aiding-victims-in-legal-cases-4351323.html/amp?amp_js_v=a2&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA=#aoh=15956738317547&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s

Supreme Court's guidelines in the case Shakti Vahini v. Union of India:
http://www.ijaresm.com/uploaded_files/document_file/Komal_Dahiyaw18L.pdf


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