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Tide of "honour killings" alarms Scotland Yard

"Honour killing" of women to protect family honour is rising, especially among Pakistanis.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2004 16:44 IST

The number of "honour killings" - killing women to protect family honour - in London and the rest of the country is rising alarmingly, specially among families from Pakistan, Scotland Yard has revealed.

Yard sources said the number of such murders has moved into double figures in London alone. Metropolitan Police (Met) officers are now telling every police station that when women from non-Western cultures complain of domestic fears or violence, they may be at risk of becoming a victim of honour killing.

In a recent case, police named Iqbal Zafar for murdering his wife in front of their three kids after accusing her of having an affair.

Relatves say they knew the allegations of an affair against 38-year-old Naziet were without any foundation. But Zafar, 43, allegedly strangulated her, then took his daughters to a relative's house before absconding.

Their teenage son discovered Naziet's body when he returned home in Streatham. Police have been told that Zafar had a history of beating his wife.

Last month, a pregnant Anita Gindha, 22, was murdered in her house. Two years ago, she had refused a marriage. She later married a Sikh builder and moved to London from Scotland. It is said that an elderly Asian man was seen leaving the area about the time of her murder. Police suspect hers also to be a case of "honour killing".

British Customs officer Surjit Atwal went missing in India in 1998 after getting out of an arranged marriage. More recently, a 17-year-old Muslim girl from west London was stabbed near her home, allegedly for going out with a non-Muslim.

In Birmingham too, a bride was killed minutes before she was to marry a man against her family's wishes. The alleged killer, a cousin of hers, fled to Pakistan. But he was recently arrested at Heathrow when he flew back to see his family.

Commander Andy Baker, head of the Met's murder squad is quoted saying, "We want to raise awareness in the police and the community that we know how these killings occur, so we can identify the danger sign and stop them."

First Published: Jan 16, 2004 16:44 IST