Indian state introduces new rules to prevent honour killings
On Thursday, Oct. 20, the government of Maharashtra in India introduced new rules to prevent honour killings. Officers have been asked to apply the new rules, which are in line with Supreme Court recommendations, with immediate effect. Officers must be extra vigilant when an incident surrounding a proposed interfaith wedding is reported.
The rules also stipulate that participants of a "khap panchayat" and similar organizations must be informed by officers that what they are doing is prohibited by law. A "Khap" is a community organization representing a clan or a group of North Indian castes or clans. If such a meeting has already taken place, officers must make it clear to the participants that nothing should be done to the couple or their family members. The new resolution states that clan meeting participants who make decisions that go against the law may face criminal prosecution by police.
"To stop violence and lynchings, the police have been asked to train teams of the Rapid Intervention Force in each district. Water cannons and tear gas should be used to control crowds. Attackers on the ground should be arrested immediately," the resolution said.
When a protest by a group or organization has resulted in violence and loss of property, the leaders of the group must report to the police station within 24 hours for questioning; if not, they are considered fugitives and will face criminal prosecution, the government resolution said.
Officers who fail to comply with the implementation of the new rules will be punished.
What is an honour killing?
An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:
Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.