Honour Killing: How Did It Originate And What Should Be Done To Stop It?

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Honour Killing cases are on a rise as couples are being killed in order to punish them for marrying a partner that their community disagrees with. But why honour killings occur in the first place?

Manoj and Babli Honour Killing Case in 2007 is long forgotten. 

Manoj-Babli Honour Killing in 2007
Manoj-Babli who were murdered in 2007

The honour killing case which historically convicted perpetrators for an honour killing crime. 

First time in history, the Haryana state gave death penalties to the accused who were the family members of the girl, Babli.

The couple who ran away from home to get married as marrying within the same clan in Haryana is considered incest. 

So, marrying within the same gotra or clan in the Jatt community is punishable and means that they are all siblings.

Manoj Banwala and Babli who were later kidnapped and beaten to death as Babli was forced to drink pesticide by her own brother Suresh. And Manoj was strangled to death in front of her by her uncle, Rajinder. 

Their mutilated bodies were later found in the canal near Hisar in gunny sacks. 

This was one of many honour killings cases that are being reported and rarely investigated upon as families are the reasons that the couples flee. They are also the reason that the couples are being killed to preserve family reputation.

This killings reflect on the bed rock of ideas on which our society is based on.

That in a sense makes us ask a pertinent question: 

What is Honour Killing?

Honour killing or shame killing, is the murder of a member of a family, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonour upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community or a religion with an honour culture.

Source: Britanica

The hundreds of cases in Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi that are being ordered by Khap panchayats (community councils) are on a rise as courts and police manage to keep the runaway couples safe in houses that are being strategically built near police and administrations buildings to protect the newlyweds couples from the orders of Khap Panchayats to execute them.

The 49 ‘Safe Houses’ in Haryana stands in fear as police men guarding the rooms are meant to protect the couples from honour killings.

Five couples at the Rohtak’s ‘Safe Home’ share a room and a toilet.
Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav

The price to marry your loved ones is being paid in ‘life’ as members of their own family search for them to kill in order to bring REPUTATION to their family again.

To understand why honour killings occur, we need to analyse the society which runs on REPUTATION and CULTURE

The society which was built in accordance with reputation and culture will try a little harder to preserve that culture as the roles of men and women will not be evolved to bring a change. 

Men are expected to be tough and intolerant of disrespect, and women are required to be loyal and sexually virgin in a reputable social culture. Any strain on these roles will initiate violent behavior among the families as those people share roots of their identities and self worth.

So, any form of activity that tarnishes their families’ reputation and honour; has to be taken into their own hands.

Thus, in an honour-oriented society, the families thrive on reputation. 

The societies which were built on this notion are mainly because of economic instability and in the absence of law. The citizens in a lawless society believe that they have to protect themselves against assault and ill-treatment by being a reputable family. 

Thus, reputation becomes a cover to dodge social predation; means that if you are family of high reputation, then people will not exploit you in order to get what they want. 

Reputable families are not to be messed with, and that whole of a societal structure rests on two things; REPUTATION and THE PROTECTION OF ITS REPUTATION.

The tarnishing of reputation in these lawless society means death, and that doesn’t exclude executing their own children or killing their siblings to protect their reputation.

The inter-caste or inter-religion marriages, adultery, disobeying religious rules or traditions etc. are little reasons of honour killings. 

Police look at the bodies of Sunita Devi (Bottom Left), 21 and her partner Jasbir Singh, 22, after they were killed by villagers in an ‘Honour Killing’ in Haryana.

In Jordan, an Arab nation, honour killings are minimally punished.

Article 340(a) of the Jordanian Penal Code exempts from punishment a perpetrator who discovers his wife, or one of his female relatives, committing adultery with another person, and kills, injures, or harms one or both of them. 

Article 340(b) reduces the sentence for the perpetrator of a murder, injury, or harm, if he discovers his wife, one of his sisters, or other relatives, with another man in an illegitimate bed. And, article 98 reduces the sentence for the perpetrator of a fit of fury crime committed in response to a wrongful and serious act on the part of the victim.  

Honour Crimes in India are on a hike as there is a whopping rise in more than 300 cases reported in 2018 alone.


By getting to know how society works or protects its traditions and cultures will change the lens through which they perceive the world. 

To stop any crime; the mentality on which they justify the act of crime should be understood. That way we can move forward to a more equal and crime less society.

Meanwhile, gender inequality will rise until we stop following ancient gender roles and encourage equality and freedom of choices to every gender.

The world is not an ideal place to survive, but it can be made more beautiful by providing and helping each other.

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Sylvia Beatrice Wairimu
Sylvia Beatrice Wairimu
3 years ago

Very educative
I love it.

Henry McWhorter
Henry McWhorter
3 years ago

Absolutely an A+ article because the reasons you have given that a society based on reputation and culture will fight back to retain this is actually true.

3 years ago

Sad, but educative.

Khushbu Chokshi
Khushbu Chokshi
3 years ago

This needs to be shared as murder shouldn’t be the price for love…?

Kunal D Joshi
Kunal D Joshi
3 years ago


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