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Millennium Post

Honour killing, a heinous crime

The murder of Abdul Hakim near his home in the Bulandshahar district in Uttar Pradesh for what is allegedly an act of ‘honour killing’ should shame and outrage the nation. Hakim, who comes from a disenfranchised family, had after a decade-long courtship with neighbour Mahvish, married and eloped with her to Delhi where they were given shelter by a non-government organisation. After two years, they went back to their village for the first time to meet his ailing mother, when while coming back from the police station, Hakim was shot dead. The couple recently had a baby girl born to them and many had thought that the long drawn enmity will finally be over. But that was not to be so. The girl’s family is being accused, which had since long lodged a case of kidnapping against Hakim with the local police and had threatened the couple since their elopement in 2010. Though the local police are trying to undermine the role of the girl’s brothers’ in his death and trying to indicate intra-family feud as the cause behind Hakim’s murder, most clues suggest to the contrary. And the pressure is building upon the local police to act. Hakim became nationally known when, earlier this year, in spite of the threat to his life, he appeared on national television for an episode on honour killing in a programme that addressed social issues and was anchored by a Bollywood actor. The actor has gone on record condemning the act and has pressed for immediate action on part of the police and administration and has also pleaded that the girl be provided adequate security. But this case should become a litmus test for the nation and its various democratic and right thinking institutions to act against this barbaric menace of honour killing.

In case of this couple, it wasn’t even caste or religion. Hakim belonged to the lowly Fakir community and so the family of the girl, Mahvish, went mad over the marriage, opposing their unequal social position. This is barbaric, obscurantist and unacceptable. Either through ‘khap panchayats’ or in some cases, through using their own money and muscle, families are going berserk over ‘unequal’ marriages. This simply cannot go in a modern, democratic country. The government and judiciary should take up the issue very strongly and urge the police to take strong action against any such nuisance that goes against consent, humanity and social mobility of adult individuals. In this case, the state, central government and the many commissions are apparently serious but piece-meal strategies won’t do. We need a holistic law to stop this crime. If law only can stop these barbarians, so be it. Unless the fear of strong penal outcome is internalised some dark corners of India will continue to shame and outrage us with their medieval conventions and beliefs.
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