By zira Ahmed
Quandeel Baloch, became the latest victim of ‘Honour Killing’ that has shaken the world very recently. The perpetrator, brother of the Pakistani social media star, confessed that he is proud he killed his sister, because “girls are only born to stay at home and to bring honour to the family by following family traditions”. The 25 year old Quandeel was strangled to death by her brother on 15th of July in the Pakistani province of Punjab. This is another case of honour killing, as to the perpetrator his sister was bringing dishonour to the Baloch family and he could not tolerate that.
Under the wide scope of crimes of honour that happens, honour killing is perhaps the most heinous of them all. Honour killings can be called as customary killing, which is murder of a person in a family or a social group by other persons, as they believe that the victim has brought dishonour to their family or community. This is one of the most psychologically complex, sociologically complicated, morally distressed and legally challenging violent crimes against humanity. Such crimes have been happening all over the world in many countries, communities and cultures. Usually such killings are done towards girls of the family or the society and the perpetrator in most of the cases is a brother or father who is purely fuelled by the abstract desire to bring back honour to the family by elimiting the family member who brought dishonour.
In 2000, the United tions estimated that 5,000 women become victims of honour killing each year, which the BBC suspects to be 20,000 women worldwide every year. Unfortutely, India is not an exception to this kind of crime that has been happening throughout the history. India has witnessed thousands of such cases in the last few decades, the latest being the sensatiol Shee Bora murder case. In India, honour killing is majorly reported in the northern regions of the country like in states of Punjab, Harya, Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttarakhand. Punjab and Harya can be said to be the most notorious states in relation to honour killing. These states also mark poor sex ratio and high incidence of gender inequality. In Harya, the moment a young person decides to marry on his/her own choice, the question of family’s honour arises, but the same honour does not get such importance when anyone in their family face trial for dowry death or rape charges.
There is a misconception in relation to the practice of honour killing that it is practised only in rural areas, but the truth is that it can also be found in the metro cities of Delhi and Tamil du, where well-educated university graduates predomite. Nitish Katara, Nirupama Pathak, Deepti Chhikara are few of the victims of such high profile educated society honour killing cases. Of all those surveyed, 60% are either high school graduates or at the very least literate. In context to India, the most obvious reason for this practice to continue is because of the fact that the caste system continues to be at its rigid best, and also because people refuse to change their attitude towards marriage. Also, in our country the society is mainly patriarchal.
Honour crimes in India are mainly committed against women who dare to choose their life partner much against the accepted mores or who has refused to enter into arranged marriage or who has been a victim of rape or because of homosexual behaviour. Somehow male reputation is dependent on female honour. It is the outcome of a clash between tradition and modernity. The traditiol norms of the society are being challenged by the younger generation who want to take their own decisions and prefer not to be shackled by values of the past. The increasing independence of women is threatening the patriarchal society which considers women as the “property” of the caste and the community. And women’s chastity is viewed as an honour of the community. This honour is directly linked to their conformity to traditiol and restrictive roles.
Shameful as it may sound, such killings still continue in many parts of the country. Even after 68 years of independence, there is no codified law in India to deal with honour killings. The murders come under the general categories of homicide or manslaughter (Section 299 of Indian Pel Code). The 242nd report of the Law Commission of India has discussed in length to tackle the mece of honour killing in some parts of India and to deal with illegal orders of khap panchayats. In the year 2010, a bill was introduced in Parliament in the me of “The Prevention of Crimes in the ture of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2010”, but this bill could not pass parliamentary procedure due to lack of political will of the members. It is high time the authority should condemn this strictly to protect the rights, liberty and dignity of every woman.
We claim to live in a new millennium. We are so advanced in the field of technology that we have even reached Mars. But is our mind really broad enough to give a girl the equal opportunity and freedom as we give to our sons? In our society, the only concern of the parent of a girl child is to find a groom. Is a girl born only to get married, give birth, mage households and always be subordite to men? It is a shame for India that even in the 21st century, crimes like honour killing still exist. In every step of our life, we always try follow the western culture, but what happens when it comes to our daughter’s liberation and freedom? In the me of culture and tradition, they are not even permitted to choose their life partner on their own. Their right to live with dignity is being violated by their own blood relatives.
With each day, our tion is growing towards development in every aspect. But there still exist some groups of people who believe in the tradition of restricting the limits of their girl child. They have made their own law and govern by such stupid regulations to the extent of even taking law into their hands. In the me of tradition and honour, they are bringing shame to our country. The Government of India should remember its obligations and commitment to protect its citizens from such violence under the United tions Convention on the Elimition of all forms of Discrimition against Women (CEDAW) of which India is a sigtory and has also ratified it. It is also against the spirit of our very own Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Lastly, in spite of laws and regulations, we need to change people’s attitude towards such killings through the modification of values, beliefs and knowledge. Through the virtue of ‘interl control techniques’, we can try to make people understand the value of life and the value of freedom to every individual, and we can try foremost to teach people that family honour has nothing to deal with such issues. We could try to make people understand the situations of their children and the importance of love and happiness in their children’s lives. By killing their own children, these parents themselves bring poor reputation to their family. So, I think if we try to educate people, enough of such values then their attitudes will probably get changed and they would definitely start valuing the importance of the lives of their children.