Intercaste Wed Locks - A Social Evil ?

Posted On : May 1, 2017
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Killing in the name of honor is a practice carried on world-wide. Majority of the victims are those who marry from different religions or castes. They become the victims of 'Social Excommunication'. The process usually involves panicked inter-caste couples eloping from fear of reaction of the society. In turn the girl's family files a police complaint accusing the husband of having abducted their daughter. The police arrests the couple and he girl is forced to back home. Here she is confined, abused and sometimes killed. The brutal truth about such societies is that these people kill for honor and do not consider act as a crime. The rights guaranteed under the Constitution are violated. Honor killing, also known as customary killing or domestic public violence is one type of cultural crimes that is present in our country. Cultural crimes are those which come within the context of culture or under the head of it. The term 'HONOR KILLING' was first used by Dutch-Turkey expert at University of Leiden AneNauta in 1978. Honor Killing contrary to the word 'honor' in its name is an anti-social practice. If an individual marrying a person belonging to another caste, gothra or religion, he or she is murdered by his or her family members in the belief that such wed-lock has brought ill reputation to their family status. Honor killing can be defined as the act of violence, usually the murder committed by the male members of the family against female family members whom according to the prior’s belief has brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be killed for many reasons like refusing to go with her abusive husband, committing adultery, unwillingness to a marriage arranged by parents, pre-marital relationships, rebelling against the tribal and social matrimonial customs etc. a mere perception that an individual, especially a woman has behaved in a way that dishonors his or her family sufficient to attack the life of that person. Honor killings can also be described as an extra-judicial punishment for offences relating to marriage. It is not necessary to marry a person of another caste but even loving a person of different caste hierarchy followed from time immemorial is enough to become a victim of honor killing. Such practice can be traced back over decades. The main reason for the commitment of honor killing is the belief of the family members that any other member had brought dishonor to the family. The dishonor can be of different types for different families. It may be the non-acceptance of dress codes to the family or community, not accepting an arranged marriage or desire of the family members, engaging in certain sexual acts including those with the opposite as well as the same sex etc. in India the main reason is the rigidity of the caste system even in this century and the people in rural areas refuse to change their attitude to marriage. In India the society is mainly patriarchal, male members are expected to enforce the norms and tradition and to protect the family and male honor from shame. This understanding of the notion gives legitimacy to violence committed against women. Thus the honor killing is a purposeful pre-planned murder by the command of members of the family by a perception that they had bought shame on the family. Honor killing shows that the custom is not related to a feudal societal arrangement.


So far, there is no specific law relating to honor killings. The murders usually come under categories of manslaughter or homicide. Honor killing, sometimes are done by a mob and when mob commit such attacks, it is difficult to pinpoint a culprit. The eyewitnesses are never forthcoming, and the collection of evidence becomes tricky. But ‘Honor Killings’ are against International

Law on Human Rights

and also against United Nations Agendas. Even though there is no specific law in India dealing honor killing but we have judicial precedence over it. There are also some bills which are in the latent stage against the honor killings, which are to be introduced in the Parliament.


Honor killing is mostly practiced in the parts of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Honor killings are rare to non-existent in South India and western Indian states of Maharstra and Gujarat. In the Eastern Indian states of Bihar, Jharkand and Orissa, the main reason for honor killing is inter-caste marriage. The state of West Bengal does not face honor killing cases as the reformers have worked against it centuries ago. In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan both Male and Female have been found to be equally vulnerable. In Gujarat the inter-caste marriage and inter-religious marriage was primary reason for killing of a person. In Andhra Pradesh, people have emphasized on inter religious marriage as the main reason followed by inter-caste marriage. Both male and female are genrally killed and financial gap was also a dominant reason. In Punjab, as per the report of Punjab Police, over 200 honor killing cases have been reported in the state between 2008 and 2010. The situation in Haryana is worst of all. The number of cases noted is 160 but actual scenario is unimaginable. In Haryana honor killing continue in most horrible form. In a study it was found that most of the cases relating to honor killing is committed by husband (41%), by father (31%), by brother (18%) and by other members of family (10%). Moving to the scenario of the world, we can see that Honor killing is committed in many countries to wipe out the dishonor that is fallen upon their family by any other members of the same family. The first instance can be drawn from U.S.A. in 1999, were a Texas Judge sentenced a man to four months in prison for murdering his wife and wounding her lover infront of their 10-year-old child. In Turkey, the Istanbul 2nd High Criminal Court adjudicated one more "honor killing" in the hearing and had given a life imprisonment to a perpetrator for strangling his wife. Some famous case relating to honor killing are;

Tulay Goren Case

Surjit Athwal Case

Awais Akram Case

Samaira Nazir Case

Ahmed Bashir Case

Abdullah Mohmmd Cade

Manoj-Babli Case

Written By:
Ravali Reddy

Ravali Reddy

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