Two years ago, two events of immense significance took place in the village of Kaluvas in Haryana.
A young man from this village, Vijender Singh won a bronze medal for India, at the Olympic Games in Beijing, putting this village in the global limelight.
Two months after that in November, during the Diwali festival, two teenage girls became victims of a brutal gang attack by the villagers. They were stoned, and hacked with machetes and axes. As they lay unconscious and bleeding, they were doused with gasoline and burnt alive. The entire community then participated in a conspiracy of silence to hide their crime.
What was the crime of these girls that warranted such a gruesome attack? Their crime was that they had visited the homes of some boys to celebrate Diwali, to share sweets and to light crackers. In a community where girls and boys are not supposed to even speak to each other, this harmless act of celebration on the part of the girls was considered to be bold and shameless. And this apparently had brought dishonor to their family and community, and so for that they had to die.
While India immortalizes Vijender Singh as its boxing champion, projecting him glamorously on T.V. and advertisements, has it conveniently forgotten these two young girls from the same village? Did these girls get justice in the end? Or did we just let it go because as has been argued before in government circles, there is an inherent, justified cultural logic to such so called “honor killings.”
How many more such girls and women must die before we say – “That’s enough. No more!”
Every one of us who stays silent on this issue, or gets defensive about it, is conspiring with those who commit these crimes. So join us in breaking this wall of conspiracy and silence by sharing this story.
We wish everyone a SAFE AND HAPPY DIWALI!!!
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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,India