As the government contemplates laws to tackle honour killings, a new study shows that the scourge is mostly a north Indian phenomenon. The study commissioned by the National Commission for Women (NCW) and carried out by NGO ‘Shakti Vahini’ profiled 560 cases which reflected that honour killing is a north Indian phenomenon, minister of state for women and child development Krishna Tirath said informed the Rajya Sabha today. The study reveals that in 88.93% of the total 560 cases surveyed, the perpetrators of the crimes were from the girl’s family, she said in a written reply. It further says that honour killings have been reported mostly from those areas where the Khap Panchayats are active.
Out of the 560 cases where couples were threatened, 121 persons have been killed. The report mentions that honour killings are less about the gotra issue and more about inter-caste marriages. Violence and threatening of couples has been reported both from rural and urban areas and from almost all sections of the society. The reaction to the inter-caste marriages is much stronger and violent when the girl marries a Dalit or to a lower caste than her own. With a spurt in incidents of honour killings across the country, the Government has decided to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider amendments to the law to deal with the issue and said the bill for that will be brought in the monsoon session of Parliament. Apart from a Group of Ministers (GoM), views will also be sought from states to the proposed amendments to IPC and CrPC to deal with the killings. The amendments will seek to bring honour killings under the definition of murder by amending the Indian Penal Code. It would also seek to amend the Indian Evidence Act which would bring the onus on Khap Panchayats to prove their innocence in any such case.