Honor Killings in Nepal

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  • December 5, 2020
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The evil practices on “Honor Killings” are more likely a bizarre act that can be taken as a heinous crime. When it comes to incidents of honor killing, the Nepalese population likes to associate it with something foreign or oftentimes even fictional. The various exhibitions of caste-based violence, as well as honor killing, has been a staple in different forms of media over the ages. Nepal however has refrained from talking about the happening on both domestic and local levels. Such matters aren’t always labeled as honor killing or caste-based violence but as hate crimes. The accused therefore suffer varying consequences but the problem remains untouched. This mentality has pushed various such incidents under the rug.

A recent such incident involves Nabaraj BK, 21, and his 18 friends who were helping him on his quest to marry his girlfriend, a 17-year-old girl from a so-called upper caste family. What followed is a pre-planned mass murder of 6 people by the hands of the girl’s family while the remaining 12 were brutally injured. The boys were first captured, killed, and then thrown into a river. The ineptitude of the local authority, the involvement of Dambar Bahadur Malla, chairperson of Ward No. 8, and the autopsy conducted by Dr. Bhupendra Malla son of Dambar Bahadur all point towards clear biases in the investigation. This incident however isn’t an isolated case.

In 2010 D K Bahadur Thapa Magar of Okhaldhunga married his girlfriend Parbati Danwar who was a resident of Kavre. After just five days of their marriage, D K was found dead hanging in the ceiling of his rented room in Kathmandu. Though it was supposed to be suicide at initial investigation later with proof of forensic reports, and further investigation it was found to be a murder. The father-in-law was taken into custody, and later on, in his interrogation, he confessed that he was drunk and he attacked his son-in-law with beer bottles and strung up his body to make it look like a suicide. Though honor killings in Nepal have gone undetected. This case too was forgotten and never talked about.

A similar instance of the killing of a daughter to “save family honor” had been reported in 2013 when Chandrika Raut of Bathnaha VDC-7 admitted to killing his own daughter after she eloped with a neighbor. The eighth-grader in a local high school was killed with the help of two hired killers. The father admitted to the crime and revealed he had given Rs. 15,000 each for the task.
Prior to the honor killings, a similar case with a 25-year-old married girl named Samatoliya Devi in Gaushala Municipality, Mahottari was reported in 2017. The suspects were Shivaji Mahato, 51, who was the father of the deceased, and her brother Binod Mahato. The dead body was found in the forest near Gaushala with her neck tied with a shawl. During an interrogation with the suspects, it was found that she was having marital affairs with another person in the village, and confess that they murder her for keeping the “family honor”.

These are only a few examples of recorded incidents of honor killing. The correct statistics is still immeasurable because of the lack of reporting and the incidents of victim-blaming. It’s very difficult to actually understand the full spectrum of these heinous crimes.

The Nabaraj case was brought to the light and huge protests were held for justice for the victim. Only then were the accused arrested and even after that most of them were released after recording their statement. This goes to further show that the laws made for caste-based violence are rarely practiced and that’s even less so in the case of honor killing.

Instead of punishing the criminals, Nepalese law enforcement usually use the excuse of preserving communal harmony for their lack of action. These horrific crimes continue and Nepal time and again fails to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

“Honor Killings”, especially killing women(girls) or one’s blood for the pursuit of honor or a belief that they have brought dishonor(shame) in the family is a heinous crime, and cause due to the ill-mentality of people. When it comes to the implementation of laws related to ‘Honor Killings’, still our constitution lacks to address strict punishment for perpetrators, as of which they are being indulged in such a bad act, and even these cases are not taken into the court, as these activities are found to be suppressed by power and politics. So, the major concern here is to formulate laws that are unbiased, and yet the laws should not be influenced by the people of high political rank or profile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Astika Subedi


Any views expressed in this publication are those of the authors. Any legal information in this topic is intended to give a positive message to the people, and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. Any contributions from, or references to, external sources (including website links), people’s views, or individuals do not necessarily reflect the views of LatticeNepal nor receive our endorsement.


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