Target: Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister for Law and Justice (India)
Goal: Protect the rights and safety of women by requiring harsher punishment for crimes against them.
In what witnesses referred to as a “ghastly” site, marble miner Oghad Singh walked into a police station in his northwestern Indian village carrying a bloody ceremonial sword in one hand and the head of his 20-year-old daughter, Manju Kanwar, in the other. It was a distant relative who convinced the father to turn himself in after he admitted to the gruesome honor killing. “He told me that he took the sword out, and when the daughter was all alone in the house he beheaded her with a single stroke and the head fell on the ground,” explained the relative.
According to Singh, his daughter had been bringing dishonor to the family and was making it hard for her other sisters to find husbands. After leaving her husband of an arranged marriage two years before, and eloping with another two weeks ago, Kanwar was commanded to return home where her father was set to kill her. Singh is currently being charged with murder.
And it is this recent act that focuses the spotlight on women’s rights within the country. No stranger to controversy, India is largely considered to be one of the worst places for women as tales of discrimination and abuse are considered routine. Years of female feticide and sex determination tests have taken a toll on the country and the women who live there. “Our lives from birth to death are full of suffering,” explained Pramilla Bhai, a 34-year-old woman who was forced by her in-laws and husband into having three abortions. “All I want now is to live in dignity, I do not want to be reduced to a state of helplessness.”
With the numbers well against them, Indian women are struggling to get their voices heard. “Unless we raise our voices, nothing happens,” Babita Devi, the head of a women’s self-help group explained at a demonstration calling attention to doctors accused of killing two female fetuses.
Dear Shri Khurshid,
It was no accident that killed 20-year-old Manju Kanwar, but rather an angry father with a sword. Accused of bringing dishonor to her family, Kanwar returned home to a father intent on ending the humiliation. As shocking as the crime is, it is not completely unexpected. Women all over the country are experiencing oppression at the hands of men, and a government that allows it to happen.
Honor killings like this, along with sex determination tests and female feticide, have established an unpredictable and unsafe atmosphere for women in the country.
Considered one of the most unsafe countries for women, India has a lot of work to do in ensuring the safety of women in the country. I urge you to protect the rights and safety of women by requiring harsher punishments for crimes against them.
[Your Name Here]