People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 14

April 04, 2010

STRONG MESSAGE FOR KHAP KILLERS

 

CPI(M), AIDWA Welcome Karnal Verdict

 

IN a statement issued from New Delhi on March 30, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) hailed the landmark judgement delivered by the Karnal trial court, in the Manoj Babli case, holding seven persons guilty of their murder in June 2007. This verdict is the outcome of the courageous stand taken by Manoj’s widowed mother and his sister, both of whom refused to buckle down to the threats and other intimidatory tactics. The Haryana unit of the AIDWA, along with other democratic forces, kept up relentless pressure for the arrest of the accused, and a series of struggles and interventions were launched at many levels. The AIDWA has congratulated all those whose efforts have been rewarded in the recent judgement. 

According to reports, five of the perpetrators of this ghastly crime --- Babli’s brother, two uncles and two cousins --- have been awarded the death sentence while the self-styled community leader Gangaraj, who called the khap panchayat where the decision was taken, has been given life imprisonment. The driver of the vehicle in which the couple was abducted has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Penal action has been recommended against two policemen for their connivance in the murder.

To the AIDWA, the most important aspect of this judgement is that this is the first time a court has identified honour killing as a “rarest of rare” crime and meted out stringent punishment to the perpetrators. The AIDWA welcomes the strong signal that has been sent out to the illegal khap panchayats which have been taking law into their hands and punishing innocent people with impunity, that such illegal activities will no longer be tolerated.

The AIDWA has demanded that the aggrieved family must be financially compensated as the deceased Manoj was its only bread earner, and was supporting his widowed mother. The organisation has also expressed the hope that this would set a precedent for exemplary punishment in other such cases that are pending before the courts, and that it would have a deterrent effect on future crimes in the name of honour.

IN a separate statement issued from Rohtak on March 31, the Haryana state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expressed satisfaction over the capital punishment handed to five persons by a trial judge at Karnal in the most barbaric case of honour killing of Manoj and Babli two year ago.

Reacting to the verdict, the party’s state secretary Inderjit Singh expressed the hope that it would send a strong signal that no one has a right to take away the life of anybody in the name of tradition. He stated that in this case the so called custodians of culture could dare kill a young married couple only because both of them belonged to widowed mothers. The CPI(M) state secretary has appealed to all the well wishers of Haryana to come forward and assert themselves in isolating the handful of the vested interests who are defaming the name of our state in whole of India and abroad. (INN)