MEMORANDUM TO NHRC ON KAITHAL (MANOJ AND BABLI) HONOUR KILLING
A delegation from AIDWA, comprising of its General Secretary, Sudha Sundararaman, Legal Convenor, Kirti Singh, and Asst Secretary, Jagmati Sangwan, met the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and submitted a memorandum demanding justice for the victims of an honour killing in Kaithal district in Haryana. Seema, the sister of the boy who had been killed, also accompanied the delegation.
In this context, the delegation demanded that the NHRC should take immediate action in the matter and give directions as per the memorandum below.The Chairperson informed the delegation that he was aware of the case, and shared the concerns that were raised by them. He assured them that he would expedite action on an urgent basis. Following is the text of the memorandum.
MEMORANDUM TO NHRC ON KAITHAL (MANOJ AND BABLI) HONOUR KILLING
4 January 2007
Justice Rajendra Babu
National Human Rights Commission
Subject: Memorandum by the All India Democratic Women’s Association on the Honour Killing case in Kaithal, Haryana involving the death of Manoj and Babli
Dear Justice Rajendra Babu,
We write to you with deep concern regarding an honour killing case in Kaithal, Haryana in which two young persons Manoj and Babli were murdered as they got married against the wishes of Babli’s family. Both Manoj and Babli were adults who fell in love and decided to run away and get married as their village elders did not agree to the union since both belonged to the same gotra (Banwala Gotra) in the Jat community. While Manoj came from a poor fatherless family and was the sole earner in his house Babli came from a well-to-do family with political connections.
After the couple ran away and got married on 7th April, 2007, Babli’s family lodged a FIR for kidnapping against Manoj and his family. Babli’s family and the police launched a search for them. On 31st May, Manoj and Babli filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court asking for protection. The court noted that they were 23 and 19 years old respectively, and were majors. Babli also gave a statement in front of the Rajaund Police in Kaithal and in front of the Additional Sessions Judge that she was a major and had consented to the marriage. The ADJ in fact reprimanded the police for suggesting that Babli be send to the Nari Niketan and ordered the police to set the couple free and further ordered that the police should accompany the couple to a safe place on June 15th. The same day Manoj’s mother received a call from Babli around 3:40 p.m. that they had been dropped off the bus in a place called Pipli without the police and was on their way to Chandigarh. Babli also informed Manoj’s mother that her family members were trailing her. She said that the police had forced her and Manoj to get off the bus when she pointed out that two of her relatives had also boarded the bus. This was the last time that Manoj’s family heard from the couple.
Manoj’s mother, Chandrapati, complained to the police alleging kidnapping. The police, however, delayed registering a FIR till 20th June, 2007 and even thereafter did nothing to find out the whereabouts of the couple. Finally, a relative of Manoj, Narender Singh, found, after extensive searching, that a complaint of kidnapping had been lodged at police station Butana (Karnal) by a road contractor. This person told him that the couple had been forced off a bus 20 kilometers from Pipli at Raipur Jatan, Karnal by some men in a Scorpio Jeep who had stopped the bus around 4:30 p.m. The couple were beaten up and pushed into the Scorpio. Both the contractor, Narender, and the bus driver had informed the police immediately.
However, only on the 1st of July Manoj’s family was told that two highly decomposed bodies were in the possession of the Narnaund police at Hissar. Manoj’s mother and sister, Seema, were even asked to wash the maggot covered clothes of her brother and sister-in-law. Thereafter again on investigation by Manoj’s relative, Narender, the Scorpio driver was apprehended along with five members Babli’s family. However, though the Scorpio driver had told the police that Gangraj, a political leader of Karora village, had hired the Jeep/car for the day, no action was taken against the said Gangraj. Apparently Gangraj was Babli’s uncle (paternal uncle) and is very influential in the area. A social boycott has in fact been imposed against the family at the instance of Gangraj. They have completely isolated Manoj’s family who have no means now to even survive for any length of time. Manoj’s family has not been allowed to sell or buy anything in the village, none would talk to the family or visit it, and even in school no teacher would teach Manoj’s brother Vinod. According to Manoj’s mother the elected panchayat has stated that a fine of Rs. 25,000/- will be imposed on anyone who interacts with them.
Although our organization has demanded that arrests of all the guilty persons be made, the police have been inactive. In the meanwhile, the panchayat, whose Sarpanch is a member of Babli’s family and some other persons have been openly applauding the action against Manoj and Babli. In fact an organization called the Jat Savabhiman Sanghatan has been claiming that they will honour those who have taken action against Manoj and Babli. They can do this only because they feel they have political and police support. The Jat Mahasabha even told the National Commission for Women that they regarded the action of Manoj and Babli a shame and a kalank. We have met the Haryana DGP and SP of all the District Headquarters and MLAs of the party that Gangraj belongs to but still no action has been taken.
We therefore request you to take immediate action in the matter and direct:-
The Haryana police to arrest all the guilty persons including Gangraj as he is obviously directly involved with the murder of Manoj and Babli.
Direct the State Government to provide protection to Manoj’s family and ensure that no boycott, including any hindrance in the education of Manoj’s brother Vinod, continues.
Direct the State Government to immediately provide compensation to Manoj’s family and help them economically.
Direct that the guilty police personnel, who colluded with Babli’s family and acted against the couple and Manoj’s family and later delayed the investigation, be punished.
Sudha Sundararaman Jagmati Sangwan Kirti Singh
General Secretary Assistant Secretary Legal Convenor