An incident of ‘honour killing’ at the village Gundakanala in Muddebihal taluk in Vijayapura district of Karnataka has sent shock waves. According to police, a 21-year-old pregnant Muslim woman, identified as Banu Begum, was allegedly burnt alive by her family members for marrying Dalit youth Sayabanna Sharanappa Konnur from Valimiki caste on Saturday night.
Konnur also sustained injuries in the ghastly incident and is battling for life in a hospital.
The police have arrested Banu’s mother, sister, brother-in-law and brother in connection with the incident. Her two elder sisters and brothers are absconding, said DySP Prabhugouda Patil.
Banu and Konnur hail from the same village and had fallen in love. Banu’s family was against the relationship and they lodged a case against Konnur under the POCSO Act with the Talikote police.
However, two days after lodging the complaint, Banu eloped with Konnur to Goa and both of them returned to the village four days after getting their marriage registered at the sub-registrar’s office in Muddebihal, police said.
The love story of Banu Begum and 24-year-old Dalit boy Sayabanna Sharanappa Konnur, ended in a tragedy where in the family members of Banu Begaum allegedly burnt her alive even after knowing that she was pregnant.
As the story goes, the girl’s family was opposed to the relationship and they even went to the police and filed a written complaint against the boy. After the incident, Banu and Konnur eloped to Goa on January 24, and decided to live there. In February, they got their marriage registered. When Banu got pregnant, the couple decided to return to Gundakanala, assuming that their families would accept their marriage.
According to Talikote police, the family refused to accept them even after they came to know about her pregnancy. “The families did not accept their marriage and a huge fight ensued throughout the day,” the Talikote Dy SP said.
On Saturday night, when the couple refused to give in to their families’ demands, Konnur was brutally assaulted. “An injured Konnur ran to the station and narrated the incident to the police. He then ran back to pick up Banu. However, before he could reach, she was burnt alive,” police claimed.
On Sunday, Banu’s mother, brother, sister and father-in-law were arrested. “They have been booked for murder and assault. Banu had been stabbed multiple times before being set on fire,” Patil said. Four other accused in the case — Banu’s two elder sisters and two brothers — are absconding, Patil added.
While a Muslim woman eloping to marry a Hindu man is quite rare compared to the reverse scenario, such relationships usually see violent opposition from the Muslim family & society. Recently, in UP, we had seen a horrifying case where a Hindu man was forcibly circumcised by a Maulana to pressurize him into converting to Islam, after the man had married a Muslim woman. Violent retribution on mixed-religion couples from the Muslim girl’s family has been seen in places as diverse as UP to ‘progressive’ Kerala. And one has definitely not witnessed incidents within Muslim society like what we saw last year in Mysuru when a Hindu girl’s family celebrated their daughter’s marriage to a Muslim man after converting to Islam.
As per the Quran and Islamic law (sharia), a Muslim woman is absolutely forbidden to marry a non-Muslim man. A Muslim man is allowed to get married to a Christian or a Jew, considered by the Islamic schools as “People of the Book” – however, a Muslim man cannot marry a polytheist (Hindu) woman until she converts to Islam.
“And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.”
Technically, this sharia law does not apply in a ‘secular’ country like Bharat as mixed-religion couples have the option of getting married under the Special Marriage Act. But the reality is that de-facto, sharia rules. This terrible murder is just another reminder of this chilling reality. Will our ‘progressive’ secular-liberals name and shame the Muslim groups, clerics and jamaats responsible for this regressive thinking and campaign for Islamic reform? Or will this again be swept under the carpet in the name of secularism?
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