‘Alleged honour killing victims found bound’, ‘Woman’s father, brother booked for honour killing’, ‘Father kills daughter in a suspected case of honour killing’ -- a quick search on the internet on ‘honour killing’ will reveal several such cases being reported almost on a daily basis from India’s rural pockets.
The recent alleged honour killing of a young couple in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratanbasai village in Morena district has once again put light on the barbarity committed by social conservatism in the rural and urban pockets of the country. Eighteen-year-old Shivani Tomar and 21-year-old Radheshyam Tomar were reportedly dumped into the treacherous Chambal River, known to be infested with crocodiles. After a thorough investigation into the case, it was revealed that the lovers were killed by the daughter Shivani’s father, who has already been accused of foul playing.
Several cases of honour killings from India’s urban and rural pockets go unreported. The National Crimes Record Bureau’s report for 2020 revealed that 25 cases of “honour killing” were reported in the preceding year. In the previous years, the reports stated that only one incident each took place in 2018 and 2017. But Evidence, an NGO, revealed in November 2019 that as many as 195 known cases of honour killings were reported from Tamil Nadu alone in the past five years.
While data is not enough to corroborate the actual numbers of honour killings that take place every year, we look at a few brutal killings in the recent past which are just a scratch on the surface.
1. Punjab honour killing, May 2023
In May this year, 25-year-old Manpreet Kaur and her rumoured lover 30-year-old Gurdeep Singh were found dead in Thikriwala village of Punjab’s Barnala district. A police investigation revealed that Manpreet’s father and brother killed Singh when he came to visit Manpreet at her house on a certain night, according to a report by Indian Express.
The couple was allegedly together for a long time and upon finding the same, Bhola Singh and his son Sukhbir Singh attacked the man with a sharp-edged weapon and killed him. They also strangulated Manpreet to death.
While Singh’s body was recovered from a small sewer drain outside Bhola Singh’s house, Manpreet’s body was found on the charpoy inside the house’s balcony.
2. Tirupati honour killing, February 2023
In February, a father in Alamuru village in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, after he killed his daughter, beheaded her and disposed of her body parts in an alleged honour killing. 21-year-old Prasanna Reddy had fallen in love with a local of a different caste from her village. Disapproed by her family, Prasanna was married to a relative and sent off to stay in another village.
However, during one of her visits to her native village, Prasanna never returned to her in-laws raising suspicion among her family members. Further, the talk about her love affair angered her father, who thought that she was bringing shame on the family, according to a report by Times of India.
Following a heated altercation one day, Prasanna’s father choked her to death and later beheaded her, and threw her body parts in the nearby forest. The crime took place on February 10 but came to light much later when the victim’s grandfather filed a missing complaint.
3. Karnataka honour killing, June 2023
A farmer from Karnataka’s Tumakuru was arrested for allegedly killing his 17-year-old daughter in a suspected case of honour killing on June 9. The victim, Nethravathy, was the only daughter of Parashuram among three children. Parashuram, belonging to a Schedule Tribe (ST) community, was a local leader having a hold in the community.
According to the police investigation, Nethravathy, who went to a public university, was in a relationship with a boy from the scheduled caste. Upon learning about her relationship, the family of the victim stopped her education and got her engaged to another man. However, Nethravathy soon ran away from her home and was found, and brought back on June 8. Furious, for bringing disrespect to the family, they tried to force-feed her pesticide to make it look like a case of suicide.
When she resisted and refused to consume the pesticide, Parashuram with his son and brother strangulated Nethravathy to death, and later cremated the body in their field to hush up the murder, said the police.
4. Rohtak honour killing, February 2023
A 20-year-old woman was killed and cremated by her family in Rithal Narwal village of Rohtak in a recent case of honour killing. According to a report by India TV, Divya, who got married in February was facing differences with her in-laws and returned to her village to stay with her family.
Before her marriage, Divya had fallen in love with a boy from her village and the relationship was not approved by her family. After Divya’s marriage, the boy along with some youths, assaulted the girl's husband, due to which the marriage broke up.
On learning about this, Divya’s family killed her and cremated the body in a hurry to wipe out any evidence. Although they tried to pass the case as a suicide, police investigation recovered bones from the sight.
5. UP honour killing, May 2023
In May, in a suspected case of honour killing, a man dragged his niece out of her house and slit her throat for eloping and marrying a man of a different caste in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur. The incident happened at Bajnagar village under the Pisawan Police Circle.
Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Sitapur, NP Singh said the 20-year-old woman had an affair with Roop Chandra Maurya, who was from the village and married.
After the woman and Maurya managed to get married at a court last year in November and returned to stay in the village, the woman’s uncle, Shyamu Singh reached the house where the couple was living and dragged the woman out.
He slit her throat with a sickle, the officer said. Shyamu Singh surrendered himself at the Pisavan police station along with the murder weapon, NP Singh said. Singh claimed that he killed her as she had eloped and married a man who was already married and was from a different caste, the ASP said, according to a report by PTI.