Village in Haryana, India, stands by parents who carried out an honor killing: 'They warned her, but she wouldn't listen'

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Maafi
Age : 21
Strangled : September 14, 2023
Residence : Balu, Haryana
Origin: India
Children: -
Perpetrators: parents Suresh Kumar and Bala Dev
In the peaceful village of Balu in Haryana in northwestern India, a tragic event occurred in which a 21-year-old woman named Maafi was killed. Her parents, Suresh Kumar and Bala Devi, are accused of her murder, which occurred because of her relationship with Rohit, a man from another Dalit sub-caste. The murder followed a failed escape attempt by the couple.

Rohit came to Balu on the evening of September 14 on his motorcycle, determined to pick up Maafi and escape together. Just as he was about to start his motorcycle, they were caught by Bala Devi, Maafi's mother. Bala Devi stormed out and pulled her daughter off the motorcycle. Rohit fled and Maafi was dragged home. There she was strangled by her own parents.

Less than a month after her hasty cremation, her own uncle struggles to remember her name. "What is her name? What is her name? I just can't remember," he says.

Reactions in the village have been mixed. While some defend Maafi's parents, others question the strict societal norms that led to this tragic outcome. One villager justifies the act of Maafi's parents: "What should parents do when their daughter tries to run away with a man? Let her go? They warned her, but she wouldn't listen. Now they are suffering in prison." These responses highlight the deep-seated societal pressures and cultural expectations that young couples in India face.

Maafi's parents have been charged with murder (Article 302) and concealing evidence of a crime committed (Article 201) under Indian criminal law.

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:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

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.

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