The alarming increase in the number of honour killings cases across India has urged the National Commission for Women, the National Human Rights Commission and various NGOs to come together and fight against gender discrimination and various forms of violence against women.

Addressing a panel of journalists and NGO representatives, Dr Ranjana Tewari, president of Women Power Connect (a national organisation of women’s groups) said, “There should be social mobilisation and intervention to fight this problem. The Group of Ministers can never arrive at a consensus. All major issues that are taken to the GoM die a natural death in the long run. This is not only a social problem but also a heinous crime that needs special laws to be dealt with.”

Launch of social awareness campaigns, special helplines, mobilisation of police personnel and a proactive state machinery were among recommendations.Guest speaker Kiran Bedi said: “Till date, not even a single statement has been issued by the Prime Minister or the Cabinet on what they are doing to protect young couples who face such threats. I request the media to urge the government to take proactive steps.”

President of NGO Shakti Vahini and Supreme Court advocate Ravi Kant said, “There is not a single representation of women in the khap panchayats. All such cases are generally considered homicides. But a special advisory and laws are required to handle such cases. IPC Section 302 alone cannot serve the purpose as it’s a crime within the family.”