NEW DELHI -- Honour killings in India have grown by more than 796% from 2014 to 2015, according to latest crime data. While 28 murders were reported under this category in 2014, this number jumped to 251 in 2015, as per the National Crime Record Bureau statistics. This spike could be a result of more vigilant reporting of these crimes, which largely go unreported.
Junior home minister Hansraj Ahrir quoted these numbers at the Lok Sabha on Tuesday in a written reply.
An honour killing refers to a murder of a person by a family member motivated by a belief that the victim had brought "shame" to the family. Many times, the victims are killed for marrying outside their caste or religion.
The highest such crimes were reported in Uttar Pradesh, where 131 honour killings were reported last year. In contrast, there was only one such case of honour killing in UP in 2014. In Gujarat, 21 such cases were reported last year, while the number was 14 in Madhya Pradesh.
A Supreme Court judgment on such killings has called it "barbaric". "There is nothing honourable in such killings, and in fact they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve harsh punishment," said the 2006 judgment.
There is no separate law to punish those found guilty of such murders, and prosecutions are usually among various sections of the Indian Penal Code for homicide and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Several efforts have been made to create a separate law dealing with honour killings but they have been unsuccessful so far.
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