After killing their daughter…

From India, another item for the annals of “honor” killing.

In a suspected case of honour killing, a 21-year-old Delhi University student was strangled by her parents, who later allegedly set her body on fire, just three days after her marriage to her friend against their wishes. The accused were arrested on Tuesday and sent to judicial custody by a Delhi court.

Strangling. It’s so intimate. It’s hard to get your head around the thought of strangling one’s own child.

Bhavna Yadav was allegedly killed on the intervening night of November 15-16 by her father Jagmohan Yadav and mother Savitri Yadav at her house in south-west Delhi’s Dwarka North. After killing their daughter, the parents took her body to their village in Alwar, Rajasthan, where they set it on fire, police said.

According to DCP south west district, Suman Goyal, Bhavna’s husband informed the police. Bhavna had married 24-year-old Abhishekh Seth on November 12 against the wishes of her family members. Police said they began probing the case after Abhishek, an assistant programmer in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, made a written complaint on November 16 at Dwarka North police station. In his complaint, Abhishek had expressed suspicion of a foul play as Bhavna did not contact him after their marriage.

Police contacted victim’s parents at their village in Alwar and took them in custody when they failed to give information about their daughter. “While questioning they broke down and admitted that they had strangled their daughter at their Delhi home,” said the officer. The parents told the police that they called her back to their home when she informed them on November 12 about her marriage.

They called her back to their home and when she complied they strangled her.

The victim was a Sanskrit honours student of Venkateswara College.

India Today doesn’t say why the parents didn’t approve of their daughter’s choice. I wonder if he was the “wrong” caste.


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    I’ll bet it was because they were counting on the money they’d get from selling her into an “arranged marriage”.

  2. says

    This is terrible, but I think we should tread lightly on speculating about the motive. ‘I wonder if he was the “wrong” caste.’ and ‘I’ll bet it was because they were counting on the money they’d get from selling her into an “arranged marriage”’ both seem a little uncomfortably racist to me.

  3. johnthedrunkard says

    Well, if you’re white, why don’t you go out and commit a few honor-killings and dowry murders to keep the statistics less ‘racist?’

    I’m sure that US Corporations and Zionism MUST have been the ‘real’ cause.

  4. Blanche Quizno says

    I understand your reluctance to speculate, #2 abbeycadabra, but take a look at the research results:

    According to Hindu religious law and tradition, marrying or having sexual relations with a member of a different caste is strictly forbidden. So, too, is romantic involvement with someone from the same sub-caste (gotra),[9] a proscription that contrasts notably with Muslim cultures where first cousin marriage is widely accepted. The vast majority of Hindu honor killings target young Indians suspected of violating one of these two commandments. In northern India, the murders are often explicitly sanctioned or even mandated by caste-based councils known as khap panchayats.[10] Although the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 made inter-caste and intra-gotra marriages legal, both remain unacceptable to the large majority of Indian Hindus. According to a 2006 survey, 76 percent of the Indian public oppose inter-caste marriage.[11] In some areas of the country, any marriage not arranged by the family is widely regarded as taboo. “Love marriages are dirty … only whores can choose their partners,” one council leader told an Indian reporter.[12]

    Though no less gruesome, the Hindu honor killings seem largely confined to the north of India and are perpetuated by sociocultural factors largely specific to India.

    The location of the family’s village, where the young wife was murdered, happens to be in the north: check.

    The average age of all of the victims in this study, both male and female, was 22, with no statistically significant differences among the groups. Overwhelmingly, it was the women’s families that committed the honor killings even in cases in which there were male victims. In India, 94 percent of the killings were carried out by the woman’s family of origin. Four percent were killed jointly by both the man’s and the woman’s families of origin; in one case it was the allegedly shamed husband of a woman who did the killing; in no cases was it just the man’s family of origin.

    The overwhelming majority of Hindu killings are caste-related, generally targeting young men and women shortly after they eloped and before they could have children.

    So, yeah, I was probably incorrect in speculating that the woman’s family was miffed over the lost profit her elopement represented. Far more likely that it was either because her husband was the wrong caste, and/or because of her effrontery in choosing a husband for herself. WAY too much uppittyness – where was the appropriate level of respect that she was supposed to be displaying?? That sort of thing mustn’t be encouraged by, you know, allowing her to live.

  5. Blanche Quizno says

    But back to the profit motive for just a moment, if no one minds too much. This site – – which lists the going price for selling people (mostly children and girls) into slavery, puts the price of a girl in India at $24.

    The tea business in India keeps entire families in de facto slavery; many are persuaded to sell their daughters on the promise that the buyers will take them to good jobs in Delhi or another big city. Those “good jobs” turn out to be slavery, particularly sex slavery.

    “A daughter is a burden on her father’s head” (Hindi saying)

    “It is more profitable to raise geese than a girl” (Chinese saying)

    Bride trafficking is the buying and selling of young girls to be the “wives” of men who are considered unmarriageable in their own communities. These men may be old, destitute, unemployed, widowed, of low status or disadvantaged in other ways, such as being physi­cally or mentally disabled. They want a sex slave and a domestic slave combined into one person. The word “marriage” is a euphemism because the men’s communities typically do not recognise the relationships.

    Young girls who are sold off as brides are the victims of unbalanced sex ratios. They are the unwanted girls who were born into poor families living in a pa­triarchal culture. They were given a chance to live, but were made aware at every step that their existence was a curse for the family. The daughters internalise this fear of stigma and cooperate in their own sale into slavery. The girls’ communities view the traffickers as saviours of family honour rather than criminals.
    There are different degrees of abuse. At one end of the spectrum, girls are valued due to the bride shortage, so their parents ask for monetary compensation.

    India’s missing women have long been a matter of concern. As early as 1881, the first census revealed an unbalanced sex ratio in what are now the northwestern states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Back then, the higher castes and landed classes were reported to practice female infanticide. More recently, it has been estimated that over 10 million female foetuses have been aborted in India in the past 20 years. In Haryana and Punjab, there are now only 800 girls per 1000 boys.

    Today, men from north India are “importing” brides from other Indian regions. The market has become so profitable, that traffickers have expanded their “sourcing” to Nepal and Bangladesh. The girls are auctioned to the highest bidder.

    The Indian government has not really woken up to the problem of bride trafficking, even though Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and others started raising awareness two decades ago.

    So, yeah, money’s definitely in the picture as a motive.

  6. Blanche Quizno says

    I found this very interesting:

    According to Prem Chowdhry of the Delhi School of Economics, honor killings were less frequent in the past “because elopements didn’t happen … livelihood was so clearly tied to the land, and the land was so clearly enmeshed in these relationships.”[45] Greater socioeconomic mobility has weakened these bonds. As khap panchayats struggle against modernization, preserving their traditional power means retaining control over reproduction, and they have resorted to violence to achieve this.

    In sharp contrast to their Pakistani counterparts, Indian government officials have vigorously condemned honor killings in their country.[46] So, too, have liberal Indian media outlets,[47] some of which have done aggressive investigative reporting on the issue. In 2010, an undercover reporter working for the Indian television channel Headlines Today found two policemen from the northern state of Haryana who boasted about their willingness to hand over a young woman to be honor murdered. “Cut her into pieces and then throw her in some river,” one said.[48] A number of Indian nongovernmental organizations are working to defend women from honor killings. The Love Commandos, with 2,000 volunteers and a 24-hour national hotline, are devoted to protecting newlyweds who defy their families.

    Apparently, there are LOTS of newlyweds who find themselves in the same boat as the couple described up top.

    The article notes that, if there is a woman who has behaved improperly according to community norms, if she is NOT honor-killed by her own family, that can essentially “taint” the rest of the family – no girls will marry the male relatives, for example.

    In such an environment, a woman who refuses to enter into an arranged marriage, seeks a divorce, or fails to avoid suspicion of immoral behavior will be viewed by her family as having dishonored them so grievously that her male relatives will be ostracized and her siblings will have trouble finding suitable spouses. Killing her is the only way the family can restore its honor, regardless of whether she actually is or can be proven guilty of the alleged offense. In sharp contrast to other forms of domestic violence, honor killings are frequently performed out in the open, and the perpetrators rarely act alone.

    Although fear of caste ostracism makes it difficult to find cooperative witnesses, Indian courts have begun aggressively prosecuting honor killers and their accomplices. In 2010, a Haryana court sentenced five men to death for the honor murder of a young couple who had married despite being members of the same sub-caste while giving a life sentence to the head of the khap panchayat that ordered their deaths.[56] In November 2011, an Indian court sentenced eight men to death and twenty others to life imprisonment for involvement in three honor killings.[57] Increasingly, local police officials have been suspended and even arrested for collusion in honor killings.

    Ugh. What a society! Talk about being dragged kicking and screaming into modern times!

    Indian Hindus murder men for honor more often than do Pakistani Muslims, and they murder for reasons mainly related to concerns about caste purity.

  7. Bernard Bumner says

    This just makes me so angry.

    I cannot understand why the caste system is tolerated: it seems like a toxic, vicious, violent pyramid scheme.

    I cannot understand how so-called honour can replace love with murderous hatred.

    I simply don’t understand why this persists.

    I can find little to do but swear and curse in response to this.

  8. dshetty says

    “Yadav” is generally a North India upper caste whereas “Seth” is probably the business caste.
    So yeah most likely a caste issue and in any case most honor killings in India are related to caste and religion
    Hence not racist.

  9. dshetty says

    But wait .. the biggest problem to women is Islamism or Jihad.
    Honor killings are only an issue when they take place in Islamic Otheristan so this isnt a problem.

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