“Honour” killings have plagued our nation for a few decades now. The idea behind this crime is that those who belong to different sects of a specific society, do not “deserve” to be united, where the only punishment is death. The many torchbearers of culture often speak up against the horrors of such crimes, condemning Hindus and the Right Government responsible for advocating for the same.
The essence of this article is not to negate the horror that lies behind any such crime, rightly called so. Instead, it aims to broaden the perspective of the audience, to realise that such evils exist in Indian society and across the world and not just in the Hindu society. Superstitions, influencing minds of gullible people has been a tool in the hands of rich, powerful across the world may be for monetary or other reasons like power and fame.
The Kevin murder case, that took place last year, in Kerala, can be a pointed example of the same. The members participating in this crime were of Christian descent and not associated with Hinduism. However, engaged in this misconduct, without the influence of any Hindu.
Around mid-August, ten perpetrators were assigned double life sentences to pay for this revolting breaking of the law. Though this has made the news, there has been limited vindication for the victimized, since mainstream media has avoided any in-depth discussion regarding this case or any others. The case of Franco Mullakal and the pressure exerted on the Nun by the powerful in the region including some religious organisations is a case that has been seen fewer eyeballs than many other cases. In the case of Franco Mullakal, he has been also interviewed by mainstream channels and top-notch anchors. Where do we see a rape accused given an audience by mainstream?
This is a primary issue in Indian society, as the lack of discussion is reflected by the lack of policy. The discussion so far has revolved around the perpetrators being Hindus; however, no true statistics exist which can verify which members of the community have been responsible for the 300% increase in this crime across the last lustrum.
Honour killings do not reflect the belief of individual religions; however, do indicate the current opinions of society, which broadly fall under the umbrella of patriarchy and lack of agency. It is essential to acquire accurate statistics on the respective causes of such crimes by the individual societal sects and to ensure that policy can target such crimes and ensure the safety of the youth of the country. Targeting any Hindus for their beliefs, despite these crimes being committed by a melting pot of culprits will ensure further oppression and thus, further outbreak of crime.
Aside from any such awareness being created, not only at a public level, such a change needs to be reflected in policy. Academic discussion should not end with the intellectuals who debate these events. These platforms should also be used to advocate for societal, political and implemental change across the country.
At one side the same society, which was seeing honour killings today sees many women athletes, entrepreneurs, businesswomen, police officers, scientist, civil servants, politicians. So, the society is changing, there is more acceptance of girl child and education is encouraging women to pick up new roles and changing the mindset of the older generation towards them.