CHANDIGARH: Educated and economically-independent runaway couples who opt for inter-caste marriages in Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab have escaped lynching by family members in the name of family honour but poorly paid and unemployed runaway couples end up dead — more often than not, according to a recent research finding.
Puneet Kaur Grewal, State Project Coordinator at State Resource Centre for Women in Women and Child Development Department of Haryana, has in her research paper:‘Understanding Misogyny and Familial Conflict: A Study of Runaway and Honour Killing cases in Haryana,’ found most of the perpetrators of honour killing were big landlords, ‘out to preserve their family status.’
“Haryana is a state with strong familial bonds where incidents of children running away from home and being killed by family members has increased dramatically,” says Grewal.
In the paper, which was recently presented at an International Conference —“Making Connections, Meeting Challenges,” at the University of Massachusetts in USA, Grewal points to the common notion in traditional families that in runaway cases, the women are to be blamed, since the prevailing view is, that the onus of maintaining family honour is entirely on them.
The study interestingly states, “Educated and well-off runaway couples escaped honour killings as compared to socially weaker couples who earned meager amounts, were unemployed, or were poor.
"Also scheduled caste boys were not at all tolerated in relationship with Jat girls. It was always the girl’s family members who killed the couple if one of them belonged to a lower caste.”
Grewal says, “No doubt there is some change in these states where women today are able to speak, come out and assert themselves. But honour killings occur even today due to prevailing misogynist culture.”“The government does provide protection homes to runaway couples but it has only helped strengthen the Khaps,” she adds.