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Separate law can end honour killings

An honour killing is no more a  gender-specific crime. It is  committed to protect the honour  of the community concerned by the people of that community. This is with reference to the article The crimes of  prejudice’ (January 31). Such an outlook of khap panchayats is really disappointing and shocking. How can the killing of their own blood relations  raise or protect their honour? We still  don't have any specific legislation for  handling honour killings. The Supreme  Court has taken a serious view of such  issues.

In the words of Justice Katju, chairman  of the Press Council of India, “There is  nothing honourable in honour killings  and they are nothing but barbaric and  brutal murders by bigoted persons with  feudal minds”. The apex court had  regarded such killings to be in the rarest  of the rare category. The perceived dishonour is not only a result of marrying  within the same gotra or outside one’s caste, but certain other reasons are also  responsible for such killings. 

As far as live-in relationships are concerned, they are still regarded as  immoral in our society and are also a  reason for such killings. It is high time to enact a law exclusively for dealing with honour killings because killings cannot protect honour. People planning to perpetrate honour  killings should know that the gallows await them.



It is really disappointing to know that the Central government is reluctant to table in Parliament the draft of the special legislation to deal with honour killings with the proposed amendments in the Indian Penal Code [IPC]. I share the writer's thoughtful view that the state government's reply sent to Pranab Mukherjee on September 30, 2010, was an attempt to ignore the magnitude of honour killings taking place in Haryana.

Caste leaders must change their rigid  mindset and look at the changing values around them without blinkers. The judiciary has played a commendable role in booking the murderers of Manoj and Babli. The timely and thoughtful intervention by the Punjab and Haryana High Court has discouraged the feudal elements in villages who tend to take law into their own hands and issue dictates to couples who decide to wed out of their caste or community.



Sixty-four years after Independence, India is still talking of and suffering from caste obsession. The motive of khap panchayats is no longer restricted to religion or ritual but is crudely related to vote bank politics. Evading responsibility is not the solution to any problem.   Self- appointed organisations like khap panchayats have no place in a democracy.  Our political parties are tolerating them for their  narrow political ends at the cost of rights and freedom guaranteed to the people under the Constitution. The khap panchayats have created a reign of terror in Haryana due to lack of fear of the law and order  machinery and the nexus between politicians and bureaucrats. 

The khaps are bringing a bad name to Haryana in general and the Jat community in particular. The khaps are violating human rights and should not be allowed to function as a  parallel judicial system. They have no right to take decisions that  infringe upon individual choice and liberty.

Academicians, social activists and  women organisations must come forward to handle  archaic organisations like khap panchayats. Exemplary punishment for those responsible for intimidating the innocent will deter the khaps from violating the law.


Reject candidates

Political parties do not hesitate to give tickets to candidates who are facing criminal cases. The Election Commission tries to hold peaceful and fair polls but has been unable to cancel nominations of undeserving candidates.

The editorial ‘Tainted contestants’ has very aptly suggested that it is the turn of people now. If the voters reject shady characters, this may work as a deterrent for political parties. If a tainted candidate stands in an election, we must boycott voting. Next time all parties should be careful while allotting tickets. Some minimum qualifications (matric or graduate) for the contestants may improve the system.

K K CHAWLA, Kurukshetra

Pak drive for new provinces

This pertains to the write-up Drive for new provinces ('Window on Pakistan, February 1). Let Pakistan learn from the Indian experience in this context. Nehru was initially reluctant to accept the demand for linguistic states and had argued that let first things come first.

The JVP Committee and the Dar Commission had also endorsed his views. But the agitation for Andhra Pradesh and its creation in 1953 and the subsequent rise of other demands forced him to appoint the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) in 1954. At that point of time American scholar Salig Harrison had predicted in ‘India: The Dangerous Decades’ that the country would be disintegrated as a result of the movements for linguistic states. But, instead, India got further integrated as a result of the linguistic reorganisation of the states in 1956 on the recommendations of the SRC.

Rajni Kothari had in his seminal work, ‘Politics in India’, rightly described this as a highly imaginative step.

If Pakistan is reorganised on a socio-cultural and linguistic basis it is bound to be better integrated. Moreover, as the Indian experience shows, the creation of smaller provinces will not only lead to better governance but also to rapid economic development.

Prof RANBIR SINGH, Nilokheri 



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