An honour killing (also called a customary killing) is the murder of a (typically female) family or clan member by one or more fellow (mostly male) family members, in which the perpetrators (and potentially the wider community) believe the victim to have brought dishonour upon the family, clan, or community. The perceived dishonour is normally the result of the following behaviours, or the suspicion of such behaviours: (a) Utilizing dress codes unacceptable to the family/community. (b) Wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice. (c) Engaging in certain sexual acts, including those with the opposite or same sex. Such killings or attempted killings result from the perception that the defence of honour justifies killing a person whose behaviourdishonours their own clan or family. Honour killing is more prevalent where a member of a lower class (wrt. social status or wealth status) marries a person of relatively higher class (high social or wealth status). The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that the annual worldwide total of honour-killing victims may be as high as 5,000.

Honour killings in history
Honour killings and punishments have been documented over centuries among a wide variety of ethnic and religious groups throughout the world. For example, the Code of Hammurabi of Babylon which was issued in 1790 BC penalized adulterous couples by drowning. The 1075 BC Assyrian law of the civilization of Mesopotamia stated that the father of a defiled virgin shall punish his daughter however he saw fit. In the Bible, the Book of Genesis, Judah demanded for the burning of his daughter-in-law Tamar, whom he was told to be pregnant via harlotry; this view is then supported in Book of Leviticus (21:9). Matthew Goldstein also noted that honour killings were encouraged in ancient Rome, where male family members who did not take actions against the female adulterers in their family were "actively persecuted".

In the modern age, the term was first used by a Dutch scholar of Turkish society, Ane Nautain 1978. Nauta sought a term that could be used in contradistinction to the blood feud, with which honour killings should not be confused. Human Rights Watch defines "honour killings" as follows: Honour crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce ² even from an abusive husband ² or

(allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonours" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life. [6] The loose term honour killing applies to killing of both males and females in cultures that practice it. For example, during the year 2002 in Pakistan, it is estimated that 245 women and 137 men were killed in the name of Karo-kari in Sindh. These killings target women and men who choose to have relationships outside of their family's tribal affiliation and/or religious community. Some women who bridge social divides, publicly engage other communities, or adopt some of the customs or the religion of an outside group may thus also be attacked. In countries that receive immigration, some otherwise low-status immigrant men and boys have asserted their dominant patriarchal status by inflicting honour killings on women family members who have participated in public life, for example in feminist and integration politics.[8] Women in the family tend to support the honour killing of one of their own, agreeing that the family is the property and asset of men and boys. Alternatively, matriarchs may be motivated not by personal belief in the misogynistic ideology of women as property, but rather by pragmatic calculations. Sometimes a mother may support an honour killing of an "offending" female family member in order to preserve the honour of other female family members since many men in these societies will refuse to marry the sister of a "shamed" female whom the family has not chosen to punish, thereby "purifying" the family name by murdering the suspected female. There is some evidence that homosexuality can also be perceived as grounds for honour killing by relatives. In one case, a gay Jordanian man was shot and wounded by his brother.In another case, a homosexual Turkish student, Ahmet Yildiz, was shot outside a cafe and later died in the hospital. Sociologists have called this Turkey's first publicized gay honour killing.

The report of the Special Rapporteurconcerning cultural practices in the family that are violent towards women indicated that honour killings had been reported in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Yemen, and other Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries, and that they had also taken place in western countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, within migrant communities.

To be young and in love has proved fatal for many young girls and boys in parts of north India as an intolerant and bigoted society refuses to accept any violation of its rigid code of decorum, especially when it comes to women. The two teenage girls who were shot dead last week by a cousin in Noida for daring to run away to meet their boyfriends are the latest victims of honour killings, a euphemism for doing away with anyone seen as spoiling the family's reputation. Many such killings are happening with regularity in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. These are socially sanctioned by caste panchayats and carried out by mobs with the connivance of family members. The usual remedy to such murders is to suggest that society must be prevailed upon to be more gendersensitive and shed prejudices of caste and class. Efforts should be made to sensitise people on the need to do away with social biases. But equally, it should be made clear that there is no escape for those who take justice into their own hands. So far, there is no specific law to deal with honour killings. The murders

come under the general categories of homicide or manslaughter. When a mob has carried out such attacks, it becomes difficult to pinpoint a culprit. The collection of evidence becomes tricky and eyewitnesses are never forthcoming. Like the case of Sati and dowry where there are specific laws with maximum and minimum terms of punishment, honour killings, too, merit a second look under the law. In many cases, the victims who run away with 'unsuitable' partners are lured back home after FIRs are filed by their families. The police cannot be unaware that in many cases they are coming back to certain death at the hands of their relatives and fellow villagers. Yet, pre-emptive action to protect them is never taken. Undoubtedly, the virus of caste and class that affects those carrying out such crimes affects the police in the area too. But that can be no excuse to sanction murder. Active policing and serious penal sanctions is the only antidote to this most dishonourable practice. We have come a long way since 1947, and have high hopes to become the education hub by 2021 but what are we lacking behind is our rigid roots and hypocrisy buried in the corner of our hearts. One of the sickest practices that came across in recent years is µhonour killing¶. The most recent case of honour killing in Punjab involves the Indian origin man who killed his teenage stepdaughter for having an affair with a man from lower caste. Mehtab Singh, 55, from Brussels, is accused of strangling 17-year-old Amritpal Kaur to death in Amritsar in northern Punjab state and then attempting to disguise the murder as a suicide. There have been a series of gruesome honour killings in India over the last month, highlighting the enduring grip of India's rigid caste system which has strict rules that govern marriage. Talking about the capita, New Delhi have been particularly shocking, given that most "honour killings" occur in less developed rural areas of northern states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The government has said that it will be bringing in a law against honour killings in the on-going Monsoon Session of Parliament itself. Before that, the proposed law will be brought before the Union Cabinet for approval. Stating this in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Union home minister P. Chidambaram said that there was a need to identify and punish the crime of honour killing with ³greater severity´. The minister who was replying to a calling attention motion on honour killings in the Lok Sabha further said that state governments are also being consulted on the new law that is being considered and that a ³strong bill´ is on the anvil. Earlier in his initial remarks on honour killings, Mr Chidambaram had told the House: ³Honour crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, mostly committed by family members predominantly against female relatives who are perceived to have brought dishonour upon the family.´ He had noted, ³There is no honour in this killing´ and that it was ³most dishonourable in this day and age´. Stating that there is no separate law to deal with honour killings or crimes at present, Mr Chidambaram said that such crimes are dealt with under the IPC and investigated and prosecuted under the IPC.

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