(Dis)honor Killings in Punjab

_46454772_family226.jpgOne of our goals on The Langar Hall is to raise awareness about issues affecting our community around the globe. Whether or not we identify or relate to these specific issues may not be as important as much as the acknowledgement that these issues do occur and that individuals and families and even children are affected. We hope that by raising awareness we can begin, as a community, to stand up against injustice in all its forms.

A recent article from the BBC reports that, according tocampaignersin Punjab, British Asians are hiring contract killers to carry out up to 100 murders in India each year. One of the most well known cases is that of Surjit Athwal, a British Sikh woman whodisappearedin Punjab in 1998. Eventually it was revealed that she had been murdered in a so-called honor killing after her in-laws discovered that she planned to divorce her husband. They had hired criminals in India to kill her. She was strangled and her body dumped in a river. Her brother, Jagdeesh Singh, now campaigns for other victims’ families.

“I think Surjit’s case exposed for the first time in this country overseas outsourced killings. How the Punjabi community, settled in Britain, send their females back to the land of origin, in the full knowledge that they can have them murdered easily, swiftly and efficiently.” [link]

The reporting of the recent growth in such murders in Punjab should horrify us and yet it does not shock us. The system of law and order in Punjab lacks infrastructure and accountability to say the least. Jassi Khangura, an elected representative for the ruling Congress party in the Punjab legislative assembly, used to be a businessman in London and speaks of the corruption,

“What we have in Punjab – and in many other states of India – is a criminal nexus that takes place between the police, the politicians and the criminals. That nexus gives the Indians that live in the UK a large degree of cover.”Even if they’re identified as the perpetrators of the crime, they’re given a considerable degree of protection and that means they never get charged.”He alleges police corruption in the state is responsible for a trend which he believes claims the lives of up to a 100 overseas Indians a year. [link]

As expected, the Punjab police deny the allegations and state that the numbers are exaggerated. In turn, families impacted by these crimes are turning to the British authorities for help. It is also important to note that not all the victims of these killings are women – many men also undergo forced marriages and havebeen targeted.

While many of these cases are still ongoing – families are learning to heal and move forward. Pav Athwal, Surjit Athwal’s teenage daughter, launched a helpline last year which aims to help victims of forced marriage and honor-based violence. As she says, there is no honour in the murder of a loving mother. As a community it is important to speak up about these injustices – raising awareness is simply the first step.


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25 Responses to “(Dis)honor Killings in Punjab”

  1. Roger Mangat says:

    The article is not entirely wrong.Honour killings have been a part of punjabi lifestyle(both east & west) the new thing is that now they are being reported.As far as community is concerned,being clannish in nature the feeling to protect ones own comes into play as compared to doing the right thing.All communities religious or otherwise partcipate & condone this practise.As far as there being a police, criminal,political nexus it is totally hog wash,the law enforcement does the best they can,and so does the judiciary.

  2. Roger Mangat says:

    The article is not entirely wrong.Honour killings have been a part of punjabi lifestyle(both east & west) the new thing is that now they are being reported.As far as community is concerned,being clannish in nature the feeling to protect ones own comes into play as compared to doing the right thing.All communities religious or otherwise partcipate & condone this practise.As far as there being a police, criminal,political nexus it is totally hog wash,the law enforcement does the best they can,and so does the judiciary.

  3. sandhu says:

    [Deleted by Admin] Please review our policy "Comments are welcome. This space is intended as a forum for open discussion. However, we will edit or remove comments we find inappropriate, at our discretion. No profanity, name-calling, discrimination, or hate will be tolerated, whether directed towards another commenter, a blogger, or an individual or group not directly present on TLH."

  4. sandhu says:

    [Deleted by Admin] Please review our policy “Comments are welcome. This space is intended as a forum for open discussion. However, we will edit or remove comments we find inappropriate, at our discretion. No profanity, name-calling, discrimination, or hate will be tolerated, whether directed towards another commenter, a blogger, or an individual or group not directly present on TLH.”

  5. Harinder says:

    As expected, the Punjab police deny the allegations and state that the numbers are exaggerated. (Authors comment)

    That is why I say that no truth is complete with out numbers.
    Here statistics of a woman honor killed will reveal the magnitude of problem.
    Example to make importance of "NUMBERS" understood is as follows.
    We all know that Diabetes exists among SIKHS .
    It however will inflict only “5 % “ Sikhs like rest f the population.
    So does it mean that all of us should start avoiding sugar?
    The answer is a obvious "NO " .
    For the 95 % Sikhs who are not diabetics; it will be unfairly denying them a very pleasurable activity of eating sugar.
    So my suggestion is that while we all acknowledge that problem exists but the magnitude is unknown.

    Continued :–

  6. Harinder says:

    However to help the suffering of these “X % age” ladies suffering.
    One could suggest that any one in interested in this aspect of Sikh community life can help;
    by setting up a help group with activist who actively campaign for woman rights with a emergency Telephone number and a Dot coms site.
    Do let all the Langar hall site reader know of it who so ever sets up such a group.

    continued

  7. Harinder says:

    The truth , reality relationship and numbers as enunciated by the greatest mind of
    20 century without sounding boringly repetitive :—

    “Heisenberg's own taste is, of course, to deny their physical reality. For example, he writes, "I believe that one can formulate the emergence of the classical ‘path’ of a particle pregnantly as follows: the ‘path’ comes into being only because we observe it" (Heisenberg, 1927, p. 185). Apparently, in his view, a measurement does not only serve to give meaning to a quantity, it creates a particular value for this quantity. This may be called the ‘measurement=creation’ principle. It is an ontological principle, for it states what is physically real.”

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
    http://linuxologist.com/off-topic/the-greatest-mi

  8. Harinder says:

    The truth , reality relationship and numbers as enunciated by the greatest mind of
    20 century without sounding boringly repetitive :—

    “Heisenberg's own taste is, of course, to deny their physical reality. For example, he writes, "I believe that one can formulate the emergence of the classical ‘path’ of a particle pregnantly as follows: the ‘path’ comes into being only because we observe it" (Heisenberg, 1927, p. 185). Apparently, in his view, a measurement does not only serve to give meaning to a quantity, it creates a particular value for this quantity. This may be called the ‘measurement=creation’ principle. It is an ontological principle, for it states what is physically real.”

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
    http://linuxologist.com/off-topic/the-greatest-mi

  9. Harinder says:

    As expected, the Punjab police deny the allegations and state that the numbers are exaggerated. (Authors comment)

    That is why I say that no truth is complete with out numbers.
    Here statistics of a woman honor killed will reveal the magnitude of problem.
    Example to make importance of "NUMBERS" understood is as follows.
    We all know that Diabetes exists among SIKHS .
    It however will inflict only “5 % “ Sikhs like rest f the population.
    So does it mean that all of us should start avoiding sugar?
    The answer is a obvious "NO " .
    For the 95 % Sikhs who are not diabetics; it will be unfairly denying them a very pleasurable activity of eating sugar.
    So my suggestion is that while we all acknowledge that problem exists but the magnitude is unknown.

    Continued :–

  10. Harinder says:

    However to help the suffering of these “X % age” ladies suffering.
    One could suggest that any one in interested in this aspect of Sikh community life can help;
    by setting up a help group with activist who actively campaign for woman rights with a emergency Telephone number and a Dot coms site.
    Do let all the Langar hall site reader know of it who so ever sets up such a group.

    continued

  11. Roger Mangat says:

    As i wrote before,punjabi community whether sikhs,hindus muslims or any body else not only encouraqge but also condone honour killings.For a proof look at this blog 5 responses in 2 days,out of which 1 was deleted due to language problems.Well ladies you guys are out on your own,seems like majority of the sikh population gets perturbed only on petty sactimonious reasons.

  12. Roger Mangat says:

    As i wrote before,punjabi community whether sikhs,hindus muslims or any body else not only encouraqge but also condone honour killings.For a proof look at this blog 5 responses in 2 days,out of which 1 was deleted due to language problems.Well ladies you guys are out on your own,seems like majority of the sikh population gets perturbed only on petty sactimonious reasons.

  13. Mr. baby tree says:

    Severe condemnation by Sikh people themselves is required.

    I think raising awareness is integrally important. If more people in this community become aware of this problematic issue, particularly the youth, the more likely it is to decrease in the future. The fact that I am reading about this for the second time in the last couple of days shows me that we're headed in the same direction, when it comes to raising awareness.

    Thanks for the article. I would donate some money to this blog, but I dont have any…yet.

  14. Mr. baby tree says:

    Severe condemnation by Sikh people themselves is required.

    I think raising awareness is integrally important. If more people in this community become aware of this problematic issue, particularly the youth, the more likely it is to decrease in the future. The fact that I am reading about this for the second time in the last couple of days shows me that we're headed in the same direction, when it comes to raising awareness.

    Thanks for the article. I would donate some money to this blog, but I dont have any…yet.

  15. liz says:

    really really sad

  16. liz says:

    really really sad

  17. Sreeja Raman says:

    you really came out to said it..it is a shame not only for Punjab, but for the whole nation which is isn pace progression towards the first place in the global triumphs..

  18. Sreeja Raman says:

    you really came out to said it..it is a shame not only for Punjab, but for the whole nation which is isn pace progression towards the first place in the global triumphs..