Don’t romanticise murder by calling it honour killing: Activists condemn use of term
Several Telugu newspapers and television channels have referred to 24-year-old Pranay’s murder as an ‘honour killing.’
“Dear friend, you weren’t killed because of love or your love. You were killed as our castes are still alive,” said Ravi Teja Rambarki, a scholar from Hyderabad Central University, as he learnt of Dalit man Pranay Perumalla’s murder.
The horrific murder of the 24-year-old in front of his pregnant wife, allegedly in a caste killing, has shaken Telangana.
“Just because you gave birth to them, you will decide whom they should marry, which clothes to wear, what food to eat, what they should study… Instead of killing them like this why don’t you stop giving birth?” activist Prof Sujatha Surepally said in a Facebook post.
On Friday, Pranay and his wife Amrutha, who is three months pregnant, had gone to the hospital for a routine check-up. As they were exiting the hospital, an unidentified man walked up behind Pranay and attacked him with a machete. Preliminary investigation by the police has suggested this is a caste killing. Pranay belonged to a Dalit Christian family, which is of the Mala caste, while Amrutha is of the Vaishya caste (a caste group categorised as Forward).
Several Telugu newspapers and television channels have referred to the murder as an ‘honour killing.’ The usage of the term has been questioned by activists on social media.
“It’s caste arrogance, not an honour killing,” activist Dunna Ambedkar posted on social media.
“This murder, termed ‘honour killing’ by casteist and communal elements, is another proof of how deep and cruel the caste system is. It reminds us that nothing has changed in the social fabric of this country and as long as the caste system continues, Dalits need protection. This ghastly broad daylight murder deserves outright condemnation by all sections of society,” Jayaraju Yeggoni, a senior advocate and Dalit activist, said.
Dr Pasunuri Ravinder, a Dalit activist and a Sahithya Akademi winner, stated that several media outlets calling the murder an ‘honour killing’ is insensitive towards the atrocities committed against Dalits.
“It’s not an honour killing but an honour-less killing… the use of such insensitive phrases will reduce the extremity of the crime and lead to a passive narration. This is happening since the media, too, has an upper caste attitude,” he said.
“The media has always embodied casteism by reducing such crimes as a murder for honour. This is a language used by culprits. It has no social approval. How can media use such words that reduce the graveness of the crime and tends to justify the murder?” said linguist Dr Uday Bhanu
Kurrella Swamy, an academic, said, “Don’t romanticise this by calling it an honour killing. This is a murder by powerful caste Hindus.”
Several Dalit activists are heading to Miryalaguda to attend Pranay’s last rites, which is likely to be held on Sunday.
Meanwhile, as Pranay’s family mourns his death, his wife Amrutha spoke to TNM and alleged that her father had told her multiple times that he would kill Pranay, as she did not obey his wishes. Pranay and Amrutha had eloped and married in January this year.
Pranay’s family, while speaking to TNM, stated that they had received threats from Maruti Rao, Amrutha’s father.
The police have launched an investigation into the murder.
Source: The News Minute, Sept 16, 2018