Actor Aamir Khan has urged police in Uttar Pradesh to provide adequate security to the widow of the murdered 29-year-old labourer Abdul Hakim, who spoke about the terror unleashed on the lovers by Khap Panchayats, in the actor's television show 'Satyamev Jayate' five months ago.
Abdul Hakim, a resident of Adauli village in northern Uttar Pradesh state's Bulandshahr district, had eloped with his neighbour Mahvish in 2010, earning the wrath of her parents owing to the disparity in their social position. He had returned to the village a few months ago, where he was shot dead on November 22.
Khan said: "I have spoken to authorities and they have told me that the family and widow of the deceased man would be given security. Authorities have also said the culprits would be nabbed and brought to book."
The couple had moved to Delhi after their marriage, where they had been given shelter by a group called 'Love Commandos'. The group's chairman Sanjay Sachdeva called for the perpetrators of the crime to be punished.
Khap Panchayats-community groups comprising elderly men which set the rules in villages in regions such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan-are often seen as instigating such murders in these highly traditional regions. Yet these village councils have no legal sanction.
Inspector General of Police (Crime) of Bulandshahr, Sandeep Saluke, said: "We do not have any facts to substantiate the theory of honour killing as has been propounded by some people."
The United Nations said earlier this year that "honour" killings, "dowry deaths" and the lynching of women branded as witches persist in India, partly due to such practices being socially sanctioned and with police often not even treating such murders as crimes.
In 2011, the Supreme Court called for an end to customary practices which promote "honour killings", saying the brutal tradition of parents killing their children to protect their so-called reputation is "barbaric" and "shameful". (ANI)