Hyderabad: On March 13 this year, 28-year-old Dalit Manthani Madhukar received a phone call from his acquaintance, who asked him to immediately rush to a nearby hospital as his girlfriend had attempted suicide. Madhukar, a driver, soon started from home, but he did not know that he was walking into a dangerous trap. Next day, Madhukar’s body was found in the bushes in a village in Peddapalli district, a few kilometres away from his home. Madhukar’s murder was not for gain. He was the victim of a brutal honour killing. He was kidnapped and killed as he had fallen in love with an upper caste girl whose relatives have now been charged with the killing.
The police as usual went soft on the case and the suspects initially leading to widespread protests in the area. Later, the cops were compelled to exhume the body and conduct another post-mortem. The cases of Madhukar and Naresh, who was killed in Bhongir by his in-laws, are not the only honour killings in TS. Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh have witnessed 17 honour killings in the last two- and-a-half years. Most killings took place when the victims had an inter-caste marriage or an inter-caste relationship. Although there was a recommendation to bring a law to prevent ‘honour killings’, so far no such move has been taken up by the Centre. There is also a Supreme Court ruling which states that "stern action should be taken to curb such killings". Police still book cases under IPC Section 302 (murder) whenever honour killings happen or Section 299 (culpable homicide).
As per National Crime Records Bureau statistics, honour killings in India have grown by around 796 per cent from 2014 to 2015. While 28 murders were reported in this category in 2014 it jumped to 251 in 2015. Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of such killings. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh came fourth and fifth on the chart. In a 2006 judgement on honour killings (Lata Singh vs State of UP), the Supreme Court called it "barbaric". "There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve harsh punishment," said the judgement.