January 6th, 2017
A 20-year-old Dalit girl was strangled to death by her parents and brother in Rohtak, Chandigarh.
The girl, Seema, married Pradeep, who was a Brahmin, on 21 December. They went to Seema’s parents only after the marriage to seek their permission before moving in together.
Seema’s parents told the couple that they would formalise the marriage by performing the required rituals. Seema remained at her parents’ house.
However, when Pradeep returned to Seema’s home on 5 January, Seema’s parents told him that she had committed suicide and her body had been taken to the cremation ground.
Pradeep immediately informed the police, who rushed to the cremation ground. The police managed to recover Seema’s half-burnt body. Forensic experts collected samples at the site. Seema’s parents were brought in for questioning where they admitted to strangling their own daughter.
Seema was murdered by her parents and her brother Rinku. Rinku is still at large.
When The Logical Indian contacted Rohtak police, the officials told us that there was a massive hunt underway to capture Seema’s brother. They also affirmed that the murder was caste-based, and that it was an honour killing.
Honour killings in India
Honour killings remain a major problem in India. The majority of them occurring in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. According to official statistics, 30% of honour killings in India happen in western Uttar Pradesh.
In December 2016, India reported an 800% rise in honour killings. 251 cases were registered in 2015 compared to 28 in 2014. While this rise may be attributed to more willingness on the part of the victims’ well-wishers to report the crime, the number remains highly worrying.
Activists have been campaigning for more law enforcement and awareness programmes in rural areas to highlight the problem of honour killings. They have also been campaigning for decades for stricter legislation to counter honour killings. The passage of this legislation has been repeatedly delayed due to the status held by traditional communities as crucial vote banks for politicians.