Thursday, May 27, 2010

Honor Killings in India

Ms. Nirupama Pathak, a bright young business journalist based in Delhi, was brutally murdered recently by her family for carrying on an inter-caste relationship with a male colleague.

Honor killings in India claim over 1000 lives every year, according to an Indian website reporting such statistics. Last year, there were 100 honor killings recorded in the Indian state of Haryana alone, according to Washington Post.

In 2008, a judge in Haryana and Punjab, Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, said the number of "couples hiding themselves in the corridors of court" had risen in recent years. In response, the government set up hotlines and opened shelters for the runaway couples.

Honor killings among Pakistanis and Muslims have received a lot of air time and print space in recent years. The unfortunate fact is that such honor killings still happen, and are not limited to specific countries or religions. This heinous practice cuts across faiths, social strata and incomes. A United Nations report says there are 5,000 honor killings every year across the globe. The crime is rampant in India as well as West and Southeast Asia. Even in the United Kingdom, the police contend there is at least one such murder every month among Asian communities.

According to a story in National Geographic, reports submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights show that honor killings have occurred in Bangladesh, Great Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, and Uganda. In countries not submitting reports to the UN, the practice was condoned under the rule of the fundamentalist Taliban government in Afghanistan, and has been reported in Iraq and Iran.

But while honor killings have elicited considerable attention and outrage, human rights activists argue that they should be regarded as part of a much larger problem of violence against women.

In India, for example, more than 5,000 brides die annually because their dowries are considered insufficient, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Here's a video about an honor killing near Delhi:



Related Links:

Status of Women in India

Gender Inequality Worst in South Asia

Grinding Poverty in Resurgent India

Women's Status in Pakistan

A Tale of Tribal Terror

WEF Global Gender Gap Rankings 2009

India, Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Female Literacy Through Mobile Phones

Pakistan's Woman Speaker: Another Token or Real Change

Female Literacy Lags Far Behind in India and Pakistan

Female Genocide Unfolding in India

Honor Killings in India Website

16 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

BBC reports a case of honor killing of teenage couple in New Delhi:

Police in the Indian capital, Delhi, say a teenage girl and her boyfriend have been murdered in what they suspect is a gruesome case of "honour killing".

Aisha Saini and Yogesh Kumar, both 19, were beaten with metal rods and then electrocuted, police say. The girl's father and uncle have been arrested.

According to police, the girl's family disapproved of the relationship because her boyfriend was from another caste.

Cases of suspected "honour killing" are rare in the Indian capital.

Correspondents say the killings - long a taboo subject in India - are now being reported more often. There have been a number of recent cases in regions near Delhi.
'Bleeding'

The couple's mutilated bodies were recovered early on Monday after neighbours complained of a foul smell emanating from the uncle's house in Swaroop Nagar area in north-west Delhi.

"When we found the bodies - the couple's legs and hands were tied and they were bleeding," Delhi's deputy police commissioner NS Bundela told a news conference.

"The couple had been electrocuted as well, but we will wait for the full post-mortem report."

He said the girl's father and uncle had been arrested "but three suspects still remain at bay".

Police say Ms Saini's family feared she would elope with Yogesh and he was called to her uncle's home on Sunday on the pretext of discussing the relationship.

According to the Hindustan Times, neighbours went to the house on Sunday but were told that a family matter was being discussed.

A police official quoted in the newspaper said the assault went on for hours.

The couple were beaten with "iron rods and other blunt weapons" before being forced to sit on iron trunks to which live wires were attached and they were electrocuted, he said.

"This is a barbaric act of violence and should be condemned. It is my duty to get the perpetrators punished," Delhi's Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia said.

So-called "honour killings" are fairly common in parts of northern India, but rarely heard of in the Indian capital.

In April, five men were sentenced to death and one jailed for life over the 2007 murder of a young couple who married against the wishes of village elders in Haryana state, not far from Delhi.

Elders said they had violated local customs by marrying within the same sub-caste.

Social activists say many young men and women die every year in northern states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Some commit suicide, others are killed - often with the approval, tacit or otherwise, of village councils that still wield considerable power.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece by BBC's Soutik Biswas on frequent honor killings in India:

For many years, urban Indians believed such "honour killings" only happened in remote rural areas, mainly in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab and parts of Uttar Pradesh. Now, they are being reported from the capital Delhi - two couples and a girl in the past week alone. At least 26 others have been killed in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh in the past 18 months. In neighbouring Punjab, one of India's most prosperous states, police records talk about 34 "honour killings" during the past two and half years - that's one killing a month. The police admit that many more killings may go unreported.

Sociologists say the rising number of such killings point to a collision between the old and young, the orthodox and the modern, between old India, residing in its villages, and new India, thriving in its cities. They say as India becomes more urbanised, young men and women flock to its crowded cities, looking for work and love, far away from the watchful eyes of their elders and communities. They go to work, and often, fall in love, and invite retribution from their families.

So, very often, such freedom is short lived, as the boys and girls are duped into "meetings" by their families and relatives only to end up being killed brutally. The majority of the murders, police say, are carried out by the girl's family - the family's "honour", the families say, is at stake when their daughters get involved with lower caste men. The killers and their kin are frighteningly unrepentant about murdering their own. "I have no regrets," the uncle of one of the girls whom he allegedly killed recently told journalists, "I will punish them all over again if given another chance."

So what about the myth about that "honour killings" happen only in villages? In this age of globalisation, India lives with one foot in the villages, and the other in cities. Urbanisation is incomplete; there is a lot of urban-rural overlap. Entire families do not migrate to cities, and links with villages remain strong. So although there is more freedom for youngsters to work and mingle in cities, if they end up chosing partners of a lower caste, their elders and communities who live in villages can easily object. "It is a ressertion of community control over those individuals and families on which elements of democracy, capitalism and globalised economy have encroached," says Prem Chowdhry, a scholar who has investigated such killings for decades.

"Honour killings" are not merely about caste. Sociologists believe it's also about sections of the society that are intensely anti-women. In Haryana - the state with possibly the highest number of cases - more women have begun working. Expansion of women in the workforce between 1981 and 1991 was 63%; the increase of men in the workforce during the same period was 26%. Educated women, many village collective heads tell privately, are a "menace".

Riaz Haq said...

Yet another honor killing in India:

ROHTAK: In yet another case of suspected honour killing, a minor girl was killed allegedly by a domestic help at the behest of her father after he found that she was having an affair with a boy in the neighbourhood, police said today.

Tapsaya Singh (15) was killed as her father Umed Singh suspected her of having an affair with the boy and plotted the crime with his domestic help, Rohtak SP S Satish Balan told reporters.

The girl's father lured his domestic help Mohan with the promise of a better future and money, he said.

The body of the victim was later dumped in a drain by the duo just outside the city, prior to which it had been lying on the fields, he said.

The body was found on December 22, twenty days after the father complained to the police that his daughter was missing and alleged that three boys may have kidnapped her.

Police said that a postmortem on the body confirmed that she had been strangulated. The domestic help had been missing since December 11 and was nabbed a day after the body was found.

Mohan in his confession to the police has said, "He (the father) asked me not to divulge anything to anybody. He also offered me Rs 10,000 and promised to get me married and look after me."

He allegedly told the police that he had called the girl to the murder spot.

Both of them have been remanded in judicial custody. Police said forensic tests were on to establish if the servant had indulged in an act of necrophilia.


Read more: Father allegedly kills daughter, honour killing suspected - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Father-allegedly-kills-daughter-honour-killing-suspected/articleshow/7166625.cms#ixzz19F02Mqn9

Riaz Haq said...

Anil Verma, an Indian diplomat in India, was reported for beating his wife. Here's the Times of India story:

In London, when contacted about MEA's directive, the Indian high commission said, "at this stage, we have no comment to make". Verma was not available for comments.

Verma allegedly attacked his wife after a heated argument last month, Daily Mail had reported.

A British daily on Sunday reported that Verma's wife, Paromita was found screaming with blood coming out of her nose. Her clothes were covered in blood and she had grabbed a tea towel to stem the flow.

The 'Daily Mail' also reported that Paromita has gone into hiding with her five-year-old son as she fears for her life. She left the home soon after the incident and has not returned since then.

"Throughout their time over here, Anil would boast about his diplomatic immunity and he would tell Paromita that no one could touch him because of it. He would goad her and say, 'Call the police as many times as you want. I've got diplomatic immunity'.

"He was shameless with it. He has been given so much power and he is abusing it. Paromita has gone into hiding and seriously fears that her safety and health are in jeopardy," a close family friend of the Vermas was quoted by the British newspaper as saying.

Paromita, who is working with Indian Railways and is on study leave, wants to remain in the UK on humanitarian grounds amid fears that she would be forcibly taken back to India. She has now sought extention of leave, a the daily said.

Verma is the third senior-most in the Indian mission after the high commissioner and the deputy high commissioner.

After the incident came to light, the MEA had said the high commission of India and the ministry were aware of it and were carefully looking into it.

"It involves sensitive and personal issues pertaining to individuals," it had said.

Recollecting the day of incident, Verma's family friend was quoted by the daily as saying in London, "Anil suddenly blew up on the morning of the incident. He was in his pyjamas and suddenly flew into a rage over the fact that there was a Christmas tree in the house that had been given to them from one of Paromita's relatives.

"He stormed up the stairs to grab the tree and throw it out but Paromita followed and tried to stop him because their son had been decorating it. He suddenly turned round and punched her full in the face, very hard. Paromita almost fell down the stairs but grabbed on to the bannister to steady herself.

"She was screaming and blood was pouring from her nose like a tap. Her clothes were covered in blood and she grabbed a tea towel to stem the flow. Anil did not say a word to her and did not seem to care. He started shouting at Paromita's mother, who was also in the house, abusing her too.

"The front door was open and Paromita ran outside, where her neighbours found her. They called the police and an ambulance also arrived at the scene. Neighbours took her into their house to comfort her until the police arrived," the daily said.

Police were called to the family's home in Golders Green, NorthWest London. Officers questioned the diplomat but they were powerless to arrest him because of his diplomatic status.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian story of women's abuse in the name of Hindu religion in India:

Parvatamma is a devadasi, or servant of god, as shown by the red-and-white beaded necklace around her neck. Dedicated to the goddess Yellamma when she was 10 at the temple in Saundatti, southern India, she cannot marry a mortal. When she reached puberty, the devadasi tradition dictated that her virginity was sold to the highest bidder and when she had a daughter at 14 she was sent to work in the red light district in Mumbai.

Parvatamma regularly sent money home, but saw her child only a few times in the following decade. Now 26 and diagnosed with Aids, she has returned to her village, Mudhol in southern India, weak and unable to work. "We are a cursed community. Men use us and throw us away," she says. Applying talcum powder to her daughter's face and tying ribbons to her hair, she says: "I am going to die soon and then who will look after her?" The daughter of a devadasi, Parvatamma plans to dedicate her own daughter to Yellamma, a practice that is now outlawed in India.

Each January, nearly half a million people visit the small town of Saundatti for a jatre or festival, to be blessed by Yellamma, the Hindu goddess of fertility. The streets leading to the temple are lined with shops selling sacred paraphernalia – glass bangles, garlands, coconuts and heaped red and yellow kunkuma, a dye that devotees smear on their foreheads. The older women are called jogathis and are said to be intermediaries between the goddess and the people. They all start their working lives as devadasis and most of them would have been initiated at this temple.

Girls from poor families of the "untouchable", or lower, caste are "married" to Yellamma as young as four. No longer allowed to marry a mortal, they are expected to bestow their entire lives to the service of the goddess.

The devadasi system has been part of southern Indian life for many centuries. A veneer of religion covers the supply of concubines to wealthy men. Trained in classical music and dance, the devadasis lived in comfortable houses provided by a patron, usually a prominent man in the village. Their situation changed as the tradition was made illegal across India in 1988, and the temple itself has publicly distanced itself from their plight.
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Chennawa, now 65 and blind, is forced to live on morsels of food given by devotees. "I was first forced to sleep with a man when I was 12," she says. "I was happy that I was with Yellamma. I supported my mother, sisters and brother. But look at my fate now." She touches her begging bowl to check if people have thrown her anything. "My mother, a devadasi herself, dedicated me to Yellamma and left me on the streets to be kicked, beaten and raped. I don't want this goddess any more, just let me die."

Nabanita said...

It's important to intervene in time and prevent honor killings. It's all about doing something.

At this moment we're battling an honor killing in Bihar. Here's the details

http://www.phototamasha.com/blogs/?p=543

Riaz Haq said...

The best way to subvert the status quo and spark a revolution is to invest in girl's education, argues Nancy Gibbs in Time magazine:

We know what the birth of a revolution looks like: A student stands before a tank. A fruit seller sets himself on fire. A line of monks link arms in a human chain. Crowds surge, soldiers fire, gusts of rage pull down the monuments of tyrants, and maybe, sometimes, justice rises from the flames.

But sometimes freedom and opportunity slip in through the back door, when a quieter subversion of the status quo unleashes change that is just as revolutionary. This is the tantalizing idea for activists concerned with poverty, with disease, with the rise of violent extremism: if you want to change the world, invest in girls.

In recent years, more development aid than ever before has been directed at women--but that doesn't mean it is reaching the girls who need it. Across much of the developing world, by the time she is 12, a girl is tending house, cooking, cleaning. She eats what's left after the men and boys have eaten; she is less likely to be vaccinated, to see a doctor, to attend school. "If only I can get educated, I will surely be the President," a teenager in rural Malawi tells a researcher, but the odds are against her: Why educate a daughter who will end up working for her in-laws rather than a son who will support you? In sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than 1 in 5 girls make it to secondary school. Nearly half are married by the time they are 18; 1 in 7 across the developing world marries before she is 15. Then she gets pregnant. The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease; it is complications from pregnancy. Girls under 15 are up to five times as likely to die while having children than are women in their 20s, and their babies are more likely to die as well.......
A more surprising army is being enlisted as well. A new initiative called Girl Up girlup.org aims to mobilize 100,000 American girls to raise money and awareness to fight poverty, sexual violence and child marriage. "This generation of 12-to-18-year-olds are all givers," says executive director Elizabeth Gore, the force of nature behind the ingeniously simple Nothing but Nets campaign to fight malaria, about her new United Nations Foundation enterprise. "They gave after Katrina. They gave after the tsunami and Haiti. More than any earlier generation, they feel they know girls around the world."

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some interesting revelations about Gandhi's attitude toward women, as published in the Guardian newspaper:

During Gandhi's time as a dissident in South Africa, he discovered a male youth had been harassing two of his female followers. Gandhi responded by personally cutting the girls' hair off, to ensure the "sinner's eye" was "sterilised". Gandhi boasted of the incident in his writings, pushing the message to all Indians that women should carry responsibility for sexual attacks upon them. Such a legacy still lingers. In the summer of 2009, colleges in north India reacted to a spate of sexual harassment cases by banning women from wearing jeans, as western-style dress was too "provocative" for the males on campus.

Gandhi believed Indian women who were raped lost their value as human beings. He argued that fathers could be justified in killing daughters who had been sexually assaulted for the sake of family and community honour. He moderated his views towards the end of his life. But the damage was done, and the legacy lingers in every present-day Indian press report of a rape victim who commits suicide out of "shame". Gandhi also waged a war against contraceptives, labelling Indian women who used them as whores.

Like all men who wage a doomed war with their own sexual desires, Gandhi's behaviour around females would eventually become very, very odd. He took to sleeping with naked young women, including his own great-niece, in order to "test" his commitment to celibacy. The habit caused shock and outrage among his supporters. God knows how his wife felt.

Gandhi cemented, for another generation, the attitude that women were simply creatures that could bring either pride or shame to the men who owned them. Again, the legacy lingers. India today, according to the World Economic Forum, finds itself towards the very bottom of the gender equality index. Indian social campaigners battle heroically against such patriarchy. They battle dowry deaths. They battle the honour killings of teenage lovers. They battle Aids. They battle female foeticide and the abandonment of new-born girls.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/27/mohandas-gandhi-women-india

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an article from Peacework magazine about Mohandas K. Gandhi's misogyny and racism:

To make a hero out of someone dehumanizes them almost as much as demonizing them does. It serves no one to turn Mohandas Gandhi into a plaster saint (or a stone Ganesh).

Many of Gandhi’s statements and actions were reprehensible, some of which are mentioned elsewhere in this issue (such as the treatment of his children [5], see page 10). There isn’t space for a full critique, but a few themes are important to mention. One of Gandhi’s contributions to nonviolent thought is the idea that a true dedication to nonviolence requires striving for the complicated truth. As we appreciate Mohandas Gandhi’s many contributions to the development of nonviolent struggle, we can’t, if we are to appraise his legacy honestly, ignore his faults as well.

Gandhi campaigned vigorously to include women in every non-cooperation campaign, and organized against purdah. Yet, Gandhi, in his old age, regularly slept naked next to young girls, including his nieces, in order, he said, to test his commitment to brahmacharya, or celibacy. No matter how some try to contextualize these actions, from my perspective, he was abusing these girls.
Editor's Note: The following additional paragraph was edited from the printed version for reasons of space:

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His views about rape were misogynist. Gandhi wrote in Harijan, for example, that women “must develop courage enough to die rather than yield to the brute in man.” Gandhi claimed, if women are fearless, “However beastly the man, he will bow in shame before the flame of her dazzling purity.”

Gandhi opposed contraception (he had a famous debate with Margaret Sanger [6] on the subject). His “idealization” of women as being superior at self-sacrifice, a quality he saw as being required of satyagrahis, is another form of stereotyping (See also Starhawk's trenchant feminist critique of Gandhian self-sacrifice [7] in this issue).

Gandhi often utilized racist arguments to advance the cause of Indians in South Africa. For example, addressing a public meeting in Bombay on September 26, 1896, following his return from South Africa, Gandhi said, “Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir [8], whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.” (Collected Works, Volume II, page 74). The word kaffir (or keffir) is a derogatory term used in South Africa for native Africans. Gandhi never, as far as I’ve read, publicly opposed the racist oppression of black Africans in South Africa.

Pacifism?

Gandhi was, at best, an inconsistent pacifist, in the sense of opposing all wars, a fact pointed out by pacifists such as Bart de Ligt in the 1930s. Gandhi supported the British war effort in several wars, including the Boer War, the Zulu Rebellion (though he later came to believe the British were wrong in that struggle), and World War I. His role was mainly to organize and participate in ambulance corps, but his personal participation earned him the British Empire’s War Medal. Even after he proclaimed “war is wrong, is an unmitigated evil,” he defended his participation based on his perceived “duty as a citizen of the British Empire.” He acknowledged that he was “guilty of the crime of war,” and eventually repudiated the Empire, but didn’t repudiate his actions. (See Gandhi on War and Peace, by Rashmi-Sudha Puri).

While Gandhi undeniably campaigned vigorously against untouchability, Dalit leaders such as Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar opposed the use of Gandhi’s term for “untouchables” (“harijan,” or “children of god”) as condescending, and claimed Gandhi never fully renounced a caste-based worldview.

Riaz Haq said...

Two widows have been bludgeoned to death by a man in the northern Indian state of Haryana, according to a BBC report:

Police arrested a 23-year-old man, the nephew of one of the women. He was on parole, having served a sentence for rape.

Eyewitnesses told police he killed his aunt and another woman in full view of other villagers, after he accused them of being in a lesbian relationship.

Haryana is a deeply conservative and patriarchal region.

Correspondents say that so-called "honour killings" are relatively common in the area.

There have been numerous cases in rural Haryana where women - and men - defying age-old notions of tradition and family honour have been ostracised, murdered or even publicly lynched, correspondents say.

The latest killings happened late on Sunday at Ranila village.

The accused reportedly began beating one of the women, identified as 35-year-old Suman, with a wooden club after accusing her of having an "unnatural affair" with his aunt Shakuntala, eyewitnesses told the police.

A few minutes later, he dragged his aunt onto the village street and beat her to death in front of local villagers who were too scared to intervene, local journalists say.

The two bled to death as the villagers watched.

"[He] threatened other villagers not to help the widows or call for medical help," a police official said.

Police said he later told them that the women were of "loose character" and that they "deserved their fate".

He said he had killed the women to protect his "family's honour".


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13125674

Riaz Haq said...

Sharia in India? BBC says young Indian couple stoned to death for having an affair:

Police in India say they have arrested eight people for stoning to death a young couple who had a love affair which met with their disapproval.

The accused include the parents of the murdered woman, who died alongside her lover. He came from a lower social group in Uttar Pradesh state.

There have been many cases in India where people have been killed for defying tradition and family honour.

Often these crimes are endorsed, or even encouraged, by village elders.

In the latest instance, police believe that Rajiv Verma and his girlfriend Renu Pal were stoned to death by a mob of about 200 people, including many of the girl's relatives.

The officer in charge of the investigation told the BBC that Renu's mother was suspected of playing a leading role in the killings.

The couple were murdered apparently because of the mob's "shame" that Renu, a student, should fall in love with her teacher, who came from a lower social group or caste.

The police said that community leaders had warned the couple to break off their relationship, but three days before their deaths, they ran off together.

Last month India's Supreme Court warned senior officials that they could be prosecuted if they failed to prevent such killings from taking place.

It said that in some cases village councils had encouraged or even ordered the deaths.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian woman gang raped and set alight in Uttar Pradeash, according to the BBC:

A woman has been gang raped and burnt alive in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, police say, the latest in a series of brutal but unrelated attacks on women there.

The woman's family says five men gang-raped her and then set her alight in her own home in Etah district.

In the past week there have been three violent attacks on women in the state.

Correspondents say Uttar Pradesh is one of India's most lawless states where women are accorded a very low status.

On Friday a 14-year-old girl was stabbed in the eye as she fought off two men who attempted to rape her.

The teenager was attacked in Gadwa Buzurg village in the Kannauj district of the northern state. She lost one eye and the other was also seriously damaged.

Police say the attackers were from her own village. Only one has been arrested so far and police said they were looking for the second man.

Two policemen in the area, who initially refused to lodge the parents' complaint, have been suspended.

Last week, a girl's body was found hanging from a tree on police premises in the Nighasan area of Lakhimpur district.

The girl's parents alleged that she was raped and murdered and that the police had offered them a bribe to keep quiet.

In the latest incident the woman, who was in her thirties, was sitting outside her home when five men dragged her inside the house and gang-raped her, according to her family.

Her family say the attackers sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire because the woman had recognised them and they were afraid of being caught.

The woman managed to give a statement to police but died shortly afterwards.

Police say they are are still looking for the attackers.

Earlier this year, the head of the National Commission for Women, Girija Vyas, said Uttar Pradesh was at the top of the list when it came to violent crimes against women.

State authorities have been criticised in recent years after several attacks on women and girls were reported.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13835838

Riaz Haq said...

All the pretensions of western style institutions make little sense to most inhabitants of India and Pakistan and other former colonies.

The colonial legacy of parliamentary democracy and British style rule of law are alien concepts in South Asia and never touch the lives of over 90% of the population.

With few exceptions, the disputes and conflicts are resolved using traditional rules set and adjudicated by local village councils (panchayats and jirgas) which are at odds with the laws passed by the national and provincial legislatures and implemented by the governments' justice system.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times blog post on brutal rape and death of a woman on a New Delhi bus:


The woman, who has not been identified, has become of a symbol for the treatment of women in India, where rape is common and conviction rates for the crime are low. She boarded a bus with a male friend after watching a movie at a mall, and was raped and attacked with an iron rod by the men on the bus, who the police later said had been drinking and were on a “joy ride.”

She died Saturday morning in Singapore, where she had been flown for treatment after suffering severe internal injuries during the assault. She had an infection in her lungs and abdomen, liver damage and a brain injury, the Singapore hospital said, and died from organ failure. Her body was flown back to India on Saturday.

As news of her death spread Saturday, India’s young, social-network-savvy population began to organize protests and candlelight vigils from Cochin in Kerala to the outsourcing hub of Bangalore to the country’s capital. Just a tiny sliver of India’s population can afford a computer or has access to the Internet, but the young, educated part of this group has become increasingly galvanized over the Delhi rape case. ...


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/30/world/asia/india-rape-delhi.html?_r=0
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Here's Reuters' story on the rape incident:

India is angry. India is protesting. Rallies continue in New Delhi after the gang rape of a 23-year-old girl on Dec. 16. The rapes continue too. On Wednesday night, three men reportedly raped a 42-year-old woman and dumped her in South Delhi. There are more cases being reported every day.

The biggest story in India, however, is Abhijit Mukherjee’s comment about the Delhi protests — “These pretty women, dented and painted, who come for protests are not students. I have seen them speak on television, usually women of this age are not students”. He added that students, who go to discotheques, think it is a fashion statement to hold candles and protest.
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Are such comments by lawmakers rare? Why are we so sensitive to something that anyone, anywhere in India says? There were similar reactions when Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called Human Resource Development Minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife a 50-crore-rupee girlfriend. A few days ago, Sanjay Nirupam’s comment about a fellow politician — Till some time ago you were dancing on the TV screens and now you have become a psephologist — freaked people out. And let’s not forget the case of the impromptu “theek hai?” on the part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this week. It threatened to become bigger than “mission accomplished.”


http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2012/12/27/abhijit-mukherjees-foot-in-mukh-moment-steals-spotlight-from-rape-cases/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a recent Telegraph story on honor killings in India:

In a submission to India's Supreme Court, leaders of caste councils made a plea for greater understanding of those who kill their children for 'honour' but denied encouraging them.

Their submission came amid widespread anger in India over high levels of violence against women following the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus as she travelled home from the cinema with a friend.

According to campaigners there are up to 10,000 'honour killings' in India every year. Most of the victims are young women killed by their fathers and brothers over 'forbidden' relationships or for insisting on marrying a man they love.

Many of those killed were in India's northern states where councils have issued stern warnings against men and women from the same sub-caste marrying each other. Caste elders regard the practice as akin to incest even though the individuals are not related.

Caste leaders have now made a submission to the Supreme Court spelling out demands for new marriage laws banning those in the same sub-castes from marrying one another.

Om Prakash Dhankar, leader of the Sarva Khap Panchayat, which represents 67 groups in Haryana state, said those who killed for honour are good people who care about their reputation.

"The honour killings are carried out by law abiding, educated and respectable people, who fear the society and always try to guard their reputation. They always care about their esteem and public image and do not want any harm to their public standing," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"We have many cases of honour killings, where the families were peace loving and law abiding and were liberal towards their children. They later on went to kill their children to save their honour in the society."

Those who break long-standing customs by marrying within their sub-caste risked creating deformed children, he claimed.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/9803127/Indian-caste-councils-praise-families-that-carry-out-honour-killings.html

Anonymous said...

Police in India's West Bengal state have arrested 13 men in connection with a gang rape of a woman, allegedly on orders of village elders who objected to her relationship with a man.

The 20-year-old woman has been admitted to a hospital in a critical condition.

Unofficial courts in India's villages often sanction killings of couples deemed to have violated local codes.

Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.


Village 'justice'

July 2012: Asara village in Uttar Pradesh state bans love marriages and bars women under 40 from shopping alone, using mobile phones outside, and orders them to cover their heads when outdoors
May 2011: Eight people arrested in Uttar Pradesh for stoning to death a young couple who had a love affair
September 2010: A Dalit (formerly "untouchable") woman in Madhya Pradesh is ordered to pay 15,000 rupees ($330) compensation to the high-caste owners of a dog for feeding their pet. The owners say the dog became "untouchable"
August 2010: Village elders in West Bengal order a woman to walk naked in front of large crowds for having "an illicit love affair with a man from a different community"
June 2009: A Muslim woman and her Hindu husband kill themselves after the local village council orders them to annul their marriage or face death

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-25855325