Another alleged honor killing occurred in India earlier this year. Indian police arrested a man who they believed was responsible for killing his teen daughter — by beheading — after he became angry over her relationship. Uttar Pradesh police took Sarvesh Kumar into custody. He had been headed to the police station anyway — with his daughter’s head hanging from his own hand.
Video of the man’s confession was released to BBC News this March. He said that he became angry that his daughter had engaged a man in a relationship without his knowledge or consent, so he locked her up before decapitating her.
These crimes are commonplace in rural regions of India, Pakistan, and many African countries. Although the problem has received worldwide attention in the past couple of decades, there are still no reliable statistics on the number of honor killings year by year, where, or why they occur. Officials believe that hundreds of young girls and women are murdered each year by male family members — and sometimes, by young teenage male family members who are more likely to escape serious legal consequences.
Family murder is not uncommon in the United States, but “honor” is rarely provided as a reason to carry out these heinous crimes. A Volusia teen recently pleaded guilty to strangling his mother — but over an argument about his bad grades, not over one or the other dishonoring the family.
That said, India’s National Crime Records Bureau does provide unofficial statistics compiled based on inter-family violence in Uttar Pradesh, a province where more honor killings are committed than any other province in India.
Women in India have struggled to address civil rights for years, but they are getting closer to equality. Indian authorities recently sentenced four men to hang after they raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman in 2012. The event caused massive backlash in India. The country received around 87 reports of rape and sexual assault every day.
And human rights activists worldwide recently galvanized after a judge ruled that groping a child did not constitute sexual assault without skin-on-skin contact. The ruling allowed a 39-year-old to walk free after he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old victim in 2016.
The murdered girl in Uttar Pradesh was only 17 years old and was beheaded with an axe.
Hardoi District Police Superintendent Anurag Vats said, “He said he saw his daughter in a compromising position with a man and he beheaded her in a fit of rage…He has confessed to his crime.”
Video of the man walking toward the police station was shared on social media, sparking outrage in India and abroad.
Vice President of All India Democratic Women Association Madhu Garg said, “Daughters in India are seen as a sign of family honor, which results in such crimes. The issue of the right to choice needs immediate attention and a separate law should be made for dealing with honor killing.”