Thursday, December 27, 2012

'Honour killings' bring dishonour to India

The policeman jumped to his feet as the man walked into the station and placed the head of his sister, along with the butcher knife that decapitated her, on the table in front of him.

The incident in Kolkata on December 7 was another killing in the name of "honour" and there has been a surge in such attacks over the past several months.

Nilofar Bibi, 22, was only 14 years old when she left home in an arranged marriage. Alleging torture carried out by her in-laws, Bibi returned to her parents on November 28, but vanished days later.

Her brother, Mehtab Alam, 29, had discovered his sister was living with an old boyfriend, Firoz, an auto-rickshaw driver. Alam stormed into the home and dragged Bibi onto the street in broad daylight.

Passers-by looked on in horror as he cut off Bibi's head while saying "she had sinned and had to be punished".

Alam left his sister's body in a pool of blood on the road, and calmly walked to the police station, her head in hand, to surrender himself. The siblings' family expressed support for Alam, saying they were proud he upheld their honour.

In a country currently caught up in collective outrage over a gang rape of a medical student in New Delhi, Bibi's killing registered only a passing reference in the national media.

But the coverage - or the lack of it - failed to hide the true extent of a scourge that bedevils many Indian women.

In a similar incident, a 17-year-old girl, a resident of Khoraon village, Kaushambi in Uttar Pradesh, was hacked to death by her father for having an affair with a 20-year-old from another religion from the same village, on December 24.

In the south, a 19-year-old woman in Sangameshwar village in Dharward, Karnataka, was allegedly killed and burnt by her parents on December 23.


Source: Aljazeera, December 27, 2012