ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Not Just Hadiya

Hurdles to Rights of Individuals

Although the legal system formally defends the rights of individuals as to who they want to live with or marry, it does pose various impediments in the path of those who choose against the will of their parents or the dictates of society. The abuse of process by parents and even third parties goes unpunished by the legal system, only creating new hurdles in the free exercise of the individual’s rights.

In the first week of August came news of yet another brutal killing in the name of “honour.” Mamta, herself a Jat, was gunned down by killers allegedly hired by her family for having had the temerity to cross caste boundaries and elope with a Dalit man, Sunil. At the time of her killing, she had turned 18 a couple of months ago and was headed to the district magistrate to record her statement. Why she was headed to the district magistrate also has a lot to do with her choices. She was going there to state before the magistrate that she intended to live with Sunil and the charges of rape and kidnapping foisted upon him by her family were false (Vishwanath 2018).

Mamta and Sunil’s case is not entirely unprecedented or one of a kind. According to statistics maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau, 251 such killings were noted in 2015 and 71 in 2016 (NCRB 2016). The top three states for such killings in absolute terms were Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and caste seems to be the main factor in such killings (Rahoof 2017). As awful as these numbers are, they do not present the full picture of how parents and community members try to stop young couples crossing caste and religious boundaries. Mamta and Sunil’s case itself shows how the legal system is used to try and break up such relationships.

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Updated On : 23rd Aug, 2018
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