In a particularly gruesome case of honor killing, a man in northern India has beheaded his daughter for her “indecent behavior.”
Ogad Singh, a marble miner living in the village of Dungarji in Rajasthan state, murdered his daughter Manju Kunwar with a sword before surrendering to the police.
Singh reportedly carried his daughter’s bloody head to shocked local authorities and confessed to the murder. The father even paraded the head to others in his village before taking it to the police station.
Kunwar, 20 years old, was living with her parents after divorcing her husband two years ago. Her father apparently went off the deep end after the girl engaged in a series of relationships with other men and then eloped with a new man two weeks ago.
After forcing her to return home on Sunday, he decapitated her on Monday.
While India is modernizing at a rapid pace, traditional values regarding the proper behavior of women and arranged marriages remain unchanged among hundreds of millions, especially in rural areas.
Even wealthy urban women are not spared such extreme violence.
In April of this year, a Bollywood model and actress named Meenakshi Thapa was kidnapped and beheaded by two rival actors. Apparently, her killers thought she was wealthy and wanted to ransom her.
A recent poll by the Thomas Reuters Foundation named India the worst place in the world among the 19 largest economies, citing killings, rape, child marriage, infanticide, slavery, abuse and widespread discrimination.
Beheadings have a long and horrific history in India -- perhaps the most famous victim of decapitation was the Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur, who was beheaded in 1675 by the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to convert to Islam.
But Hindus also have practiced beheadings for various crimes and infractions.
As recently as last September, Praveen Togadia, secretary general of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a right-wing Hindu nationalist group, called for a death sentence -- by decapitation -- for anyone who tried to convert Hindus to other religions.
Togadia’s shocking demand came in response to huge rallies held by the America Christian evangelist Franklin Graham in Hyderabad.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.