Judges move to stamp out "honour killings"


February 16, 2008

Tanveer Thakur

CHANDIGARH, Feb. 16: It may come in the form of a kitchen fire, an assisted ‘suicide’, or a slit throat.

High Court Judges in Punjab and Haryana recently highlighted the horrifying practice of honour killings in the region and have expressed hope that the practice would be “stamped out” like sati with state and society’s intervention.

Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice SD Anand of the High Court ruled: “We are of the view the problem of honour killing needs the attention of all concerned. The issue is linked to gender equality and women empowerment, which is one of the goals included in the millennium development goals of the international conference of 199 countries in the year 2000,” the Judges said, while pronouncing the orders on appeal filed by accused in Jassi murder case. “It is well known that sati practice has been virtually stamped out on account of efforts at the government as well as societal level. We hope the issue of honour killing will receive the attention of all concerned as well.”

The Judges said the practice of honour killing was prevalent in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. Quoting Oxfam, a non-governmental organisation working worldwide to fight poverty and injustice, the Judges said it was estimated every six hours somewhere in India a young married woman was burnt alive, beaten to death or driven to commit suicide by a member of her family. In a judgement that reflects the humane aspect of law, the Judges also took note of the recommendations stating: “The states must ensure all victims of honour killing, and everyone who has been threatened by honour killing, receives immediate and complete assistance, as well as post-traumatic psychological and social support. All such assistance should be of a confidential nature and free of charge.”

The Judges also said it was important to build up structures for prevention and damage control. “Most urgently, this means establishing shelters for girls and women who are at risk.”

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