India has witnessed a 796% hike in the number of honour killings from 2014 to 2015 according to a reply given in Parliament by the Home ministry. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recorded 251 cases of honour killings in 2015 against 28 in 2014, the government told the parliament on December 6 in a written reply to a question.
Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest jump in the number of honour killings. The number rose from 1 in 2014 to 168 in 2015. Gujarat (25), Telangana (17), Madhya Pradesh (14), Punjab (8), and Kerala (5). Madhya Pradesh (7) and Punjab (5) also recorded a high number of honour killings.
However, the NCRB data may not be an accurate reflection of the true state of affairs. Kirti Singh, a Supreme Court lawyer told Hindustan Times that many cases go unreported. Similarly, Madhu Garg, Uttar Pradesh general secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association had earlier said, “People have now started reporting such crimes. Earlier these were lumped with just other murders.” Barring 8 states and Puducherry all other states reported zero honour killings in 2014. Only 13 states and Delhi and Andaman and Nicobar Islands reported honour killings in 2015.
The NCRB started collecting data for honour killings from January 2014, and registered cases under section 302 (murder) and section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
In response to questions about steps taken by the government to curb the crime, the Minister of State for Home Affairs told Parliament that ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are state subjects, and the responsibility of curbing honour killings, therefore, should lie with state governments and union territory administrations. It referred to a 2009 advisory that asked states and union territories to take special steps to curb the “Violation of Women’s Rights by the so called Honour Killings, to prevent forced marriage in some northern States, and other forms of violence”.