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Horror killings to ‘guard’ honour shaking India

By Dipin Damodharan

One more story of honour killing reported, but this time it is from the Shivaganga district of South Indian state Tamil Nadu not from North India. The horrific cycle of honor killings to protect the honour of a family or a caste has now spread its tentacles to entire India.

In Shivganga, 20 year-old Megala and 24-year-old Sivakumar, were told that they could not marry as they were related. Despite Megala"s love, her family married her off in June. She eloped with Sivakumar ten days after the wedding. Her family traced the couple and killed Sivakumar with sickles.

The killers included Megala"s father and brother. Megala says that everyone in her village, including her mother, justified the killing of her lover as she fetched shame to her community and village.

In June a news story hit the headlines that a girl and her lover were brutally killed by the girl"s family members, and hanged them as exhibits in front of their house.

For the cause of loving a person in the same caste, the cultureless caste fanatics, in the name of honour, subjected the girl Monica (18) and her lover Rinku to brutal inhuman laws as both belonged to same Jat community of Haryana's Nimriwali village.

The father of Monica, her brother, uncle and cousins are suspected to be behind the crime and are absconding. They had done this under the guidance and protection of Khap Panchayats, the apex body of caste based council.

The main function of Khap Panchayat is murdering couples of the same gotra or sub caste in the villages of rural India.

The murder of Monica and Rinku forced the Supreme Court of India to interfere in the issue. On June 21, 2010, the Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre, Haryana government and six other states to take action against the killing of young couples.

Honor killings in the most horrible form continue in rural India, particularly in Haryana. The state that has become the epicenter of honour killings. In the last week of April, the country witnessed the brutal murder of a journalist in the name of honour.

Nirupama, a 22-year-old journalist was found murdered at her home in Jharkand. Nirupama, hails from a Brahmin family, was in love with a boy from another caste.

This was the reason for her death also. Nirupama"s family members including mother brutally killed her for saving the honor of their family. This is the grade of rural Indian villages living under the clutches of feudal landlords.

Even a women journalist was not able to survive this kind of ruthless ethos. Then think, what is the condition of an ordinary village girl in rural India?

There are many Nirupamas and Monikas in Indian villages, but most of the stories are unseen and unheard. No one knows the official figures of this kind of murders. According to the data collected by India Democratic Women"s association, the number of caste killings is more than thousand in every year.

In May 2009, a Court in Haryana awarded capital punishment to five persons and life sentence to one for murdering a couple for marrying against the societal norms. After the verdict, the Khap Panchayat openly challenged it. They collected money to file appeal against the court verdict and demanded change in the constitution of India.

They are demanding changes in Hindu Marriage Act, which would essentially legalize the draconian actions of Khap Panchayat. Their threat was not confined to dialogues as they continued to target young couples in the villages. Succumbing to these uncivilized norms, Naveen Jindal, MP of Congress party offered his unconditional support to Khap Panchayat.

According to National Commission for Women, honour killings take place when young people challenge accepted norms of marriage. It arises from the fear of feudal village lords that woman in their village or community would challenge them. The role of political parties and social organizations also comes under question.

They have done nothing to challenge this peril. Horror killings to 'guard" honour are shaking India in a dreadful manner. The need of the hour is to introduce stringent legislation to deal firmly with the heinous crime. On one side, India is progressing rapidly and on the other Indian villages are going back to the uncivilized culture, the old feudal ethos

*Dipin Damodharan is a Journalist (Sub Editor with Jeevan TV) based in Kerala and he can be contacted at dipinbharath@gmail.com

*The views expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oneindia.in or of Greynium Information Technologies Pvt Ltd. *

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