By Shruti Shreya:
“Kill your daughter if she elopes”, was the advice given to a father looking for his missing daughter in U.P. You would think that these were words uttered by uneducated people of some backward or tribal area but what is more shocking than these words is the fact that the person giving this suggestion is the DIG of Saharanpur.
While on a round of the Prabudhnagar district on Tuesday, when Shaukeen Mohammad, the helpless father of the allegedly abducted 14 year old Ishrat Jahan, asked the DIG, Satish Kumar Mathur, for help to recover his daughter who has been missing for the past one and a half months, he was met with an absurd remark from the police official who replied to his requests with “I don’t have magical power to recover your daughter. But if your daughter had eloped then you should be ashamed of it and end your life. I would have killed my sister if she had eloped or else I would have committed suicide.”
While this remark, that was caught on video by the media people present there, has received a lot of flak from all across the country and has resulted in the man being transferred to another post and location for promoting honor killings, what is worrisome is the man, whose job is to protect the society, has his gun pointed towards the very people he once vowed to save while donning his khaki uniform.
More daunting is the fact that globally more than 20,000 women lose their lives annually under the behest of “honor killings”, a practice that is prevalent in India more so in the northern regions of country, specifically in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. Usually the dishonorable acts that lead to one’s death under “honor killing” include dressing in a manner unacceptable to the family or community, wanting to terminate or prevent an arranged marriage or desiring to marry by own choice, especially if to a member of a social group deemed inappropriate, engaging in heterosexual acts outside marriage and engaging in homosexual acts.
While movies like Love, Sex aur Dhoka are doing a good job of flashing these social issues in people’s faces in an attempt to spread awareness on honor killings, the people practicing them however choose to be selective on the message they wish to receive from such films. It is not uncommon to find people in jeeps that are blaring with the chartbuster title track of LSD on the sound system indulging in murders of the rebellious women in their family who seem to threaten their existence and honor in the society. Unfortunately the only message they received from such films: the raunchy item song!
Alas, we live in a hypocritical society filled with double-faced fascists who condone, and sometimes kill, their women over things they themselves enjoy doing. What is worse is that they say they do in the name of honor.