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article imageA new 'honor' killing in India

By Raluca Besliu     Nov 20, 2012 in World
Another honor killing incident took place at Kearha village in the northern Indian province of Kaimur, situated at around 95 miles west of the state capital Patna.
Dinaru Bind, a 28 year-old man, and his two small children were killed as a punishment for him marrying against the will of the wife’s family. Although still alive, Rina Devi, the young wife and mother, is struggling for her life in critical condition at a governmental hospital in the town of Mohanian.
Dinaru and Rina had eloped and married four years ago to the outrage of the girl’s father and two brothers, who ordered the newlyweds to leave the village. The two only came back to the village last year.
Upon their return, the girl’s father and brothers continued to oppose the marriage and told the two they must either leave again or face the consequences. Police are currently looking for the three killers.
Several other honor killings have occurred in Bihar in recent months. In August, a man cut his sister and his niece to pieces before throwing them in the Ganges, as a result of their family’s opposition to her marriage.
However, honor killings represent an important problem throughout India, especially in the Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh provinces. In these regions, unofficial village councils publish edicts condemning couples for marrying outside their caste or religion and marriages within a kinship group, considered as incestuous. To enforce these edicts and to protect their “honor,” families have threatened couples, filed false cases of abduction and even killed spouses. This type of violence is most often perpetrated against women, but as seen in the case presented above, men can also fall victims.
In 2010, Human Rights Watch urged the Indian government to prosecute those responsible for carrying out such killings and to promote, through public campaigns and the media, the right of individuals of legally marriageable age to marry whomever they freely want.
The organization further emphasized that the government should instruct the police, who are often found to turn a blind eye on these incidents, to provide protection to individuals in consensual relations who are afraid of family or community persecution.
In 2011, the Indian Supreme Court said that honor killings should be punished through death penalty. This decision has been challenged by other institutions, such as India’s Law Commission, which emphasized that the death penalty should only be applied in exceptional and rare cases. The Commission pointed out the fact since the Supreme Court had given that decision, the lower courts of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi had sentenced almost all accused in cases of honor killings to death. Most recently, in October 2012, five people from Delhi have been sentenced to death for torturing and electrocuting a young couple in a so-called honor killing. However, should death be repaid with death or is the Law Commission right in pointing out that the death penalty should be used as only an exceptional punishment?
Honor killings are also widespread in other countries as well, such as Pakistan and Turkey.
More about Honor killing, India, Human rights watch
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