Caste Council ‘Explains’ Honor Killings, While India Still Reels From Gang-Rape Tragedy (International Business Times)
“Less than one month after the death of a young Delhi gang-rape victim sparked a massive series of protests across India demanding a change in the country’s attitudes toward its women, a group of council elders have defended another type of violence against females–the ancient practice of ‘honor killings’ in the country. [...]
“On Monday, in documents presented before the Indian Supreme Court, the Sarv Khap Panchayat, which comprises 67 ‘khaps’ (or unelected caste-based councils) from the Rohtak district of Haryana, a state in northern India, explained the reasons behind honor killings and absolved themselves of any responsibility in them. [...]
“The Times of India reported that in response the Panchayat declared before the court: ‘The main culprits [behind] honor killing are not the representatives of khaps but the near and dear ones of the couples and more so the relatives of the girls, when they cannot resist the social pressure of the locality and the taunts of relatives.’ [...]
“‘The killings are initiated by the family members of such couples–marrying inter-caste or within the same gotra [clan]–and especially by the relatives of girls. It is observed that such incidents happen only [among] the peace-loving and law-abiding people of the village and not [among] the mischievous families,’ the Panchayat said.
“‘Such ‘love marriages’ being socially, customarily and traditionally prohibited relationships against the age-old custom and tradition of marriages, their relatives and friends cannot withstand the hostile taunts of their companions and [the] public at large and this aspect forces them to commit such heinous crime of killing the couple on the pleas of saving the honor of their families in the eyes of the villagers.’ [...]
“The victims of most honor killings in India (as well as Pakistan and the Arab nations) tend to be women, who are viewed as the holder and symbol of a family’s ‘honor.’
“By choosing her own husband in defiance of her family’s wishes, a young woman in India is ‘seen as polluting not just herself but also her domestic group,’ Delhi-based sociologist Deepak Mehta said to the Wall Street Journal.”