06/28/2010, 00.00
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Honour killings and dowries continue to claim victims in India

by Nirmala Carvalho
A man and woman of different castes commit suicide because their marriage "is impossible." 24 year old girl throws herself from the 28th floor of a building after the torture suffered at the hands of her husbands and in-laws who demand the payment of a dowry.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A young couple committed suicide yesterday in Samalkha, 50 km from Delhi, throwing themselves under a train. According to police, it is yet another case of "honour killing". Deepak and Teena, 25 and 18, were from the same village and wanted to get married, but belonged to different castes.

The young man was part of the Saini community while the girl belonged to the Luhar. caste The parents told police that they had repeatedly tried to convince young couple not to meet because their relationship "was impossible."

It is only the latest of many honour killings that continue to unfold in India. On June 20, Mandeep Nagar, 23, and Ankit Chaudhury, 22, helped by a third man, killed their sisters because they were mixing with people of different caste, thus exposing them "to the insults of the whole village. We could not bear the humiliation".

"Honour killings" in India are traditionally the killing of a member of the family by relatives when they humiliate them, for example, marrying a person of a different caste. According to the United Nations Population Fund 5 thousand honour killings take place each year worldwide, most of them in India.

Another cultural scourge that afflicts the country is the dowry system. Nishi Jethwani, 24, yesterday threw herself from 28th floor of a building in Mumbai after undergoing mental and physical torture at the hands of her husband and in-laws, who wanted the  payment of a dowry.

Despite being abolished by law in 1961, according to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau the dowry system caused 8172 deaths in 2008 alone. Payment of dowry amounts to millions of rupees (tens of thousands of Euros) and often many families can not afford it, killing their daughters before the birth to avoid the risk of a marriage that they could not afford.  

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