Honour Killing ~ A chilling truth
There is nothing honourable about killing someone in cold blood. Never. However, depraved people do find a way to weave a logic out of nonsense and that is what happens every time an innocent woman is murdered because society decided she must be taught a lesson. What is more frightening is that despite world condemnation, this phenomena refuses to end. Instead, we frequently read of instances in which young women have been put to death for the most banal reasons - horrifyingly, by their families. The list grows longer as the world watches.
In a recent widely-followed case of honour killing in Britain, a couple of Pakistani origin was sentenced with life imprisonment about a week ago, for being held guilty of murdering their teenage daughter who allegedly brought shame and ‘dishonour’ upon the family with her westernized lifestyle. Shafilea Ahmed was just 17 when she subjected to this brutality and it is after almost 10 years that she got justice. However, the more alarming truth is that there are many such victims who are awarded death in the name of honour, and whose deaths go unnoticed, unheard…
Human Rights Watch defines “honour killing” as follows: “Honor killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonors" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.”
If we contemplate on this for a minute, we feel contempt for the very idea of restoring ‘honour’ through killing, which are in fact, no less than murders. Recently, a 26-year old teacher was strangled to death by her family in Delhi (Sultanpuri) for daring to marry a man of so-called lower caste. Such incidents are occurring rampantly in many parts of India, such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and it only serves to show how women’s rights are being reduced to a myth with such heinous acts. Honour killing is in fact, a disguised concept of domestic abuse against women, and it transcends culture, class, race and religion. How sad it is to witness such crimes which belittle the notion of ‘honour’!
The government as well as NGOs and other organizations are actively involved in minimizing, and eventually banishing such an evil from the society. In 1990 the National Commission for Women set up a statutory body in order to address the issues of honour killings among some ethnic groups in North India, and it has proved to bring down the number of such unfortunate cases significantly. In June 2010, the Supreme Court of India issued notices to the Central Government and six states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to take preventive measures against honour killings. Scrutinizing the disturbing number of incidents still taking place, the Government planned to bring a bill in the Monsoon Session of Parliament July 2010 to provide for deterrent punishment for ‘honour’ killings. Apart from these, there are many bodies working independently to address the issue, and make a difference.
Once having reached adulthood, women have the complete independence to lead their lives on their own terms and marry the person they want to. Impositions and restrictions, parental or otherwise, cannot dictate her life-decisions. The real shame is in the murder, not in the disobedience. Thus, by all means, resources should be targeted on tackling violence in certain communities, and encouraging people to broaden their perspectives. They should come out of the stereotyped ideas and move forward with time, so that girls feel reassured of the fact, that the people who are supposed to love them, will not kill them.