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Indian Mothers Charged With Killing Their Daughters

Indian Mothers Charged With Killing Their Daughters

Last week, I wrote about the India Supreme Court’s dramatic denouncement of honor killings and their declaration that such crimes should merit the death penalty.  Now, this new policy may be put to the test, with the case of two mothers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who have been charged with the murder of their daughters.

The two women were strangled last week after they returned home to make peace with their families after eloping with Hindu construction workers.  The daughters are Muslim, and inter-religious marriages between Muslims and Hindus are uncommon and widely disapproved of, especially in rural communities.  There are more and more instances of inter-religious unions in urban cities.  It’s unclear whether the two mothers, who are neighbors, worked together to kill the young women.

One of the mothers reportedly told an Indian newspaper, “How could they elope with Hindus? They deserved to die. We have no remorse.”

The Indian Supreme Court referred to such killings, which are often condoned and even ordered by village councils, as “barbaric and feudal.”  They are, however, disturbingly widespread.  According to the Washington Post, a study found that somewhere around 900 youth are killed each year for defying their elders.  Many of these killings are, like the strangled young women, of young adults who fell in love and married against their parents’ wishes.

As I wrote in my earlier post, as someone who is staunchly against the death penalty, I am opposed to its use, even in situations such as these.  But certainly, a message should be sent that honor killings are horrific and completely unacceptable.  Whether this means convicting more people for honor killings, imposing longer jail sentences, or conducting education programs in rural areas, something needs to be done so that young men and women stop dying at the hands of their families and close communities.


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6:11AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

There is something wrong when a law allows a mother to kill her child or children.

12:41AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

how could you kill your own child?? simply barbaric!

5:38PM PDT on May 19, 2011

The two ,others should be punished for murder.

11:02AM PDT on May 19, 2011

so sad... why do we kill?

3:28PM PDT on May 18, 2011

There is no honor in murder, let us start with not using the term "honor killings" and look at it as plain cold-blooded murder, which it really is

1:02PM PDT on May 18, 2011

Please continue to cover this issue! It seems to reflect the streak of totalitarianism that runs in SOME Muslim families (certainly not all, and I guess many of the most liberal Muslims are in India). In our middle-class community in India, eloping was the easiest thing to do when your parents don't approve-- and was without exception the reaction from parents was reluctant acceptance of the new couple... we have even some friends who are Muslim who eloped, and now everyone accepts them. The caste system may be officially gone, but the difference between rural villagers and middle-class Indians is vast.

12:53PM PDT on May 18, 2011

This is a complex situation. In Utopia I'm against the death penalty. However, we live in an imperfect world, so we must be pragmatic. Jailing people is expensive. Can India afford to jail thousands of more people every year -- each one jailed for years? Probably not. Do they have the resources to enforce alternatives other than death? I hope so, but... Do they have the resources to ensure the rich don't just bribe their way out of persecution? Not likely, so only the poor are going to suffer. And remember, many of these people have other children. Those children are going to be poorer and in danger with their parents in jail. How does making the poor even poorer help society? But this MUST change. Honor killings must stop. Now. Within this generation we need to stop honor killings. A very difficult situation.

12:28PM PDT on May 18, 2011

I just can't understand!!!!!!!!!!

10:01AM PDT on May 18, 2011

I'm against the death penalty but the punishment should be harsh. The thing I don't understand is why mothers would her their own children.

3:29AM PDT on May 18, 2011


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