We have traditionally been a society that's obsessed with caste, religion and class. But for people to get away with murder under the guise of 'Honor Killings' in the 21st century, in the world's largest democracy, makes one cringe and seethe with anger. Lest you think that this is only prevalent in the "lower classes" or in villages, I recently came across this news article about a murder in New Friends Colony in New Delhi in what appears to be a middle class educated family!
And dont even get me started on the Khap Panchayats that have the audacity to issue the death penalty to couples who are caught bringing dishonor to their caste or gotra. Instead of distancing themselves from these idiotic self appointed kangaroo courts of supposed virtue, our politicians (young ones included) are siding with them and actually taking their case to the PM. Where is the conviction to stand up for what is right? Why are these politicians in public service if their only concern is to enrich themselves with lucrative government contracts? And why isnt the public angrier or demand answers?
The PM and his cabinet are slow as always in making decisions. A recent proposal to amend the Indian Penal Code to punish these Khap Panchayats with the death penalty if they ever encourage such killings has been shelved by putting the amendments "under review". Swift action is warranted but as always our politicians have to worry about potentially alienating this criminal voter base.
At the end of the day, the message going out to the public is that a mob can get away with anything! That's why any small group can go and attack a TV channel for supposed derogatory remarks against their leader, even if those remarks are true. The police are controlled by their political masters and have no independence despite the PM's repeated assurances that reforms are coming. I am a big fan of Mr. Manmohan Singh. I think he is the right man for the job and is a true patriot. But his pace of bureaucratic and police reforms, his inability to fire corrupt ministers and his constant setting up of a committee to review every potential action is beginning to frustrate everyone. And I havent even gone into the CWG mess!
So what do we do? Get the laws in place that make such a crime punishable by death, get the police cracking down hard on perpetrators, improve the general situation of law and order, give the police more independence, better pay and better equipment! Its really not rocket science. Everyone knows the solution. We just fail to act on it and the public just accepts the pace of change as - this is India, we are like this only.
Well - we are not like this! We deserve better. We are better!