We have another “honor killing” in India where a family believed that its religious and social standing demanded the murder of a family matter. Rama Kunwar, 30, had simply married for love eight years ago. Her husband was from a different caste, but she had hoped that her family had reconciled to her choice in returning to her village. They hadn’t. Her brother set her on fire and burned her alive as other villagers watched. No one intervened to save her despite her pleas.
Kunwar was visiting her in-laws home when her brother burst into the home and dragged her out into the street. After murdering her, the family cremated her to destroy the evidence. However, her mother-in-law alerted the police who doused the funeral pyre to collect what remains they could. Notably, it was her mother-in-law and not her mother or other family members who called the police.
One of the brothers and six other men have been arrested. According to the Times of India, the arrested include brother Laxman Singh Sisodia, Pravin Singh, Kalyan Singh, Eshwar Singh, Mahendra Singh, Bhopal Singh and Gajendra Singh. Notably, two of her aunts were also taken into custody.
It remains otherworldly for most of us to imagine the type of religious and social indoctrination that would allow anyone — let alone family members — to commit such a heinous murder in the name of “honor.” It shows again the plight of girls and women in traditional societies where they are denied the most basic rights of self-determination and choice over critical parts of their lives. Kunwar burned to death simply because she married by choice and followed her own path in life. It was not enough for her family to disavow or condemn her. They had to burn her alive. Despite the pleas of their suffering sisters as she was engulfed in flames, these brothers believed that they were righteous and honorable men in the their twisted cultural view.