Honor Killing in India
Honor killing can be defined as the death sentenced by family or society members to a man or woman for marrying against parent’s wish, having extra-marital or pre-marital affair, marrying outside one’s caste or within same gotra etc., in order to protect the social status and honor of the family. The dishonor perceived in this kind of killings may be a result of behaviors as trivial as dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community, or having a non-sexual relationship that is perceived as inappropriate. Among the victims, majority are women and girls as compared to men. Although this practice is prevalent worldwide including North and South America, Africa, Turkey, the number of incidents relating to this crime is extremely high in India.
The history of the practice of honor killing in India may date back to thousands of years. The social structures, rules and bindings have been very strong for centuries and there exists an approval of the killings within the religion and social norms of the sub-continent. Yet the strong social boundaries may have prevented the behaviors that would lead to such punishments. The honor killing practice in modern history seems to have gained momentum since the partition of India in 1947. The tradition was first viewed most brutal and horrible during 1947 and 1950, when women were forcefully killed to protect the family’s honor. A lot of forced marriages and rapes were causing women from India to marry men from Pakistan and vice-versa. This would trigger the hunt for the people marrying in other country, other religion, or caste and when they return home, they would be killed so that the family honor is preserved and the family is not declared outcaste. The socio-political environment during this period caused women to be made victims for humiliation among conflicting communities leading to the humiliated families killing women of their own families. The stronghold of religion, rigid...
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