Murder is in the air. While not every case has the same stench of scandal as the Sheena Bora murder, a family turning on each other can often be about a regressive and patriarchal sense of family honour, rather than greed.
As sisters tie Rakhis in exchange for a vow to be protected by their brothers, let’s take a moment to remember those who cannot do the “honours” this year.
Dear brothers, please do not do this to your sisters on this Raksha Bandhan.
Phool Jehan was beheaded by two of her brothers in broad daylight, on a street not too far away from their home in Shajahanabad, Uttar Pradesh on August 17.
Gul Hassan and Nanhe Mian then paraded Phool’s severed head around the village and left her body lying on the road. Her crime was to fall in love with a cousin, who in a complete mockery of justice was arrested by the police. Eleven days after the brutal murder, the two accused are still at large.
In a similar case in Kolkata, a 29-year-old garment trader Mehtab Alam decapitated his sister Nilofer Bibi, who had eloped and was living with a rickshaw puller.
Mehtab dragged his sister out of her husband’s house, and decapitated her with a sword. He then took the severed head to the police station, where he surrendered.
This December 2012 incident is believed to be the first incident of “honour killing” in Kolkata.
Six members of 19-year-old Neerja Kumari’s family were involved in her murder. One of her two brothers used a sharp-edged knife to slit her throat, while the rest of them held her down. Her body was found in an open field in the Sujaganj police station area of Jaunpur. Her crime? She refused to end her affair, even after her family had fixed her marriage with someone else.
The 18-year old’s throat was slit by her brother Amit, after he discovered the Clas XI student was having an affair with their neighbour. Bharti was dragged into the house when she returned home one day, and her throat was slit in front of their parents. The brother, then started a manhunt for the neighbour and attacked his family in the process. He expressed no regret for his actions, as his sister’s affair, according to him, had “defamed the honour of the family”.