ABSTRACT

This chapter provides an overview of particular forms of femicide in India. It explains the socio- cultural context wherein these lethal forms of violence against women are practised alongside a high normative regard for the feminine. Dowry deaths, female foeticide, and honour crimes point at a continuum of patriarchal violence against girls and women, spread over a lifetime, in the family setting. Despite protective laws and feminist activism, girls and women in India face insidious forms of violence in the name of family norms, community practices, and religion. An inefficient criminal justice system, high levels of tolerance for violence against women and lack of resources compound the problem. However, a comprehensive understanding of femicide in contemporary India requires us to go beyond blaming the culture and rooting our explanations in present-day processes of modernisation and change, including struggles and movements for equality and gender justice. Drawing from available statistical data and other secondary materials, this chapter describes the magnitude of the problem, the particular nature of femicide in India, and the continuities of intimate femicide globally. The author distances herself from any stigmatising stereotype of India and its culture as being particularly or especially violent. The way forward for tackling femicide in India lies in having sound and reliable data, drawing on the global advocacy on the issue to implement best practices, increasing social awareness, and a sensitive and effective criminal justice system.