Monday, August 2, 2010

Couples in India dying in honour killings

Nineteen-year-old Rajni had been a bride for only a few minutes when her husband, Sanjeev, suggested they head for a nearby police station to ask for protection.
It was only a matter of time, Sanjeev reminded his new wife, before her family started to hunt them down.
In February, after she told her family of her plans to marry Sanjeev, a 24-year-old milkman, Rajni's uncle grabbed her around the neck, slapped her, and threatened to kill her.
The couple was a mismatch, Rajni's uncle raged. Her father, after all, has 25 buffalo, wealthy in this lush stretch of India, a checkerboard of rice paddy and sugar cane fields. Sanjeev and his parents, on the other hand, were labourers who made $2 a day.
If she married Sanjeev, her uncle said, Rajni's family would be forced to kill both of them to preserve its honour.
Sanjeev and Rajni are hardly unique. Throughout northern India, young couples are being killed by the thousands in the name of honour and tradition. Some are poisoned, while others are hanged, drowned or beheaded.
In one recent case, a young woman was reportedly lit on fire and burned to death for marrying the wrong man in a village just outside New Delhi.
There are at least 900 so-called “honour killings” a year in the Indian states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, according to a study cited by Human Rights Watch, and there has even been a string of such murders in the country's affluent capital in recent weeks.
Source: Toronto Star