Sunday, October 03, 2004

Honour killing for transgressing caste lines

Harsha Kumari Singh

Sunday, October 3, 2004 (Dausa):

A week after a teenage girl was allegedly killed by her family in Rajasthan's Dausa district for running away with a Dalit boy, the girl's community today called a maha panchayat to launch an agitation against the arrest of her alleged murders.

There was outright condemnation against the arrest of 15 year old Neelam's family members who have been charged with her murder.

In the name of honour
Neelam was reportedly killed to save the family honour by her own father, uncle and grandfather for running away with a Dalit boy from her village.

"This Panchayat has been called because this FIR was filed under pressure, without concrete proof two innocent people have been arrested and Women's organisations are behind it," said Gajendra Singh Khatana, Convenor, Gujjar Panchayat.

Neelam's family members have reportedly admitted during interrogation that it was an honour killing but the community panchayat says they will launch an agitation against the arrests.

Caste politics

Meanwhile, women's organisations in the state blame the government for allowing the crime to be politicised on caste lines.

"We have seen it earlier in Rajasthan, we have seen it on the Sati matter, in the Roop Kanwar case in the Bhanwari Devi case and we have seen it even otherwise where caste panchayats are used against women to put pressure on the goveerment," said Kavita Srivastava, a women's activist.

And while political parties have not officially taken sides on the issue, the caste panchayat was attended by local MLAs from both parties.

15 year old Neelam's only crime was that she fell in love with a Dalit boy but tragically her entire community has come out in support of her alleged killers establishing once again that women here still remain in the trap of medieval traditions.

Source: NDTV, October 3, 2004

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