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Man In India Accused Of ‘Honor Killing’ His Daughter
UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 8: 8 year old Sadaf (name changed) has her scarf adjusted by her aunt before she stands for a photo on September 8, 2016 in Uttar Pradesh, India. 3 months ago she was raped by a doctor in her village. She was walking to the market to buy sweets when the doctor, who her family estimates is around 50 years old, forcefully pulled her inside his clinic and raped her. Afterwards she stumbled out onto the street and fainted. When her family found her she was covered in blood and profusely bleeding. She told them what happened and they went to the police but the police refused to register a case, they said that they should compromise because the doctor was offering them 2 lakh rupees (around $2,989) to drop the case. The family refused, and says "They destroyed the life of our child, how can we compromise?". They estimate that they and their neighbors had to go to the police station 10 times before the police agreed to register the case. For 5 days after the rape, Sadaf bled and they had to shuffle from hospital to hospital looking for a hospital that had facilities that could provide adequate care for her. Since the rape Sadaf has been sick and week and is too afraid to leave the house or return to school. The family is also afraid to let her leave the house because they say the rapist comes from a rich and powerful family and could harm her or kidnap her. Before the rape she enjoyed going to school and dreamed of being an English teacher when she grows up. She loved to play board games and cricket with her best friend, Nisha, but she hasn't seen her for 3 months. Sadaf's uncle, who is fighting the case, has taken out two loans to help pay for transportation to the court house and for lawyer bills. Every time he has to go to court he must take off work from his job as a day laborer. (Photo by Getty Images)
Photo by Getty Images / Stringer via Getty Images

Police in India have reportedly taken a man into custody who was accused of decapitating his daughter because he was angry that she was romantically involved with a man he did not like.

According to reporting by BBC News, it is not uncommon for this to occur in the country. “Murders by family members for being in a relationship are known as ‘honour killings,’ and although there are no authentic figures, campaigners say hundreds of so-called ‘honour crimes’ take place every year in India.”

In places where this practice is still deeply embedded into Indian culture, people can suffer from the wrath of family members by “marrying outside their caste and religion and often these crimes against them are endorsed, or even encouraged, by village-based caste councils.”

The man was reportedly walking towards the police station, and he told the law enforcement officials where the body and murder weapon were located. People who spotted the man carrying a severed head in the neighborhood called the police after becoming concerned at the sight. An investigation is currently underway.

According to the BBC, statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau detail that Uttar Pradesh is a state in which the highest number of criminal acts against women occurred. The honor killing that happened on Wednesday was in the same state of Uttar Pradesh, in the Hardoi district.

Although India has made progress in certain areas, the topics of women’s rights and sexual abuse continue to be a main concern for many in the country and neighboring regions.

In 2011, the Indian Supreme Court said that anyone who carries out an honor killing should be given the death penalty. “It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation,” the court said. The decision came as two Supreme Court judges dismissed an appeal countering a sentence to life in prison by someone who had committed an honor killing.

“All persons who are planning to perpetrate ‘honour’ killings should know that the gallows await them,” said Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra at the time. “He cannot take the law into his own hands by committing violence or giving threats of violence. In our opinion honour killings, for whatever reason, come within the category of rarest of rare cases deserving the death punishment.”

Children also face situations of abuse without punishment for their assaulters. In January of this year, an Indian court ruled that inappropriately touching a child is not sexual assault if no “skin-to-skin contact” occurs or if there is no “sexual intent.” Many rights activists harshly called out this ruling and criticized it.

In March 2020, four men were hanged in India for the cruel gang rape of a paramedical student in Delhi in 2012. The incident led to an enormous response including public protests as people called on Parliament to make rape a capital offense, punishable by death.

However, according to CBS News reporting, not much has changed despite public outcry. “Government data released in September 2020 that showed an average of 87 rapes were reported every day the previous year — a rise of more than 7% from 2018.”

Rapes and crimes against women in India are also believed to be severely underreported.

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