LUCKNOW, India — Authorities in India’s Uttar Pradesh state announced the arrest of a man who beheaded his teenage daughter before carrying the severed head to the village police station on Thursday, March 4.
Footage shows the man being searched by police. Officers asked the man, Sarvesh Kumar, what his name was. They also inquired about who the severed head belonged to.
Kumar admitted to the crime later on in the same video. He says he hacked his 17-year-old daughter to death with an ax in an outburst of anger upon learning of her relationship with a man.
‘I did it. There was no one else. I closed the latch and did it. The body is in the room’, he said. Kumar added that he would’ve killed his daughter’s lover if he was able to find her.
Neighbors reported Kumar’s carrying of his daughter’s head through the Hardoi district the day prior, prompting his arrest. The killing has sparked debate and new conversation over ‘Honor Killing’ laws.
Honor Killings, most common in rural areas of India and Pakistan, are based on traditions that go back centuries in age, as well as long-standing cultural norms.
“Daughters in India are seen as a sign of family honor, which results in such crimes,” said Madhu Garg, vice president of the Uttar Pradesh chapter of the All India Democratic Women Association.
“The issue of the right to choose needs immediate attention and a separate law should be made for dealing with honor killing,” she added.
Hundreds of people, 70% of them being women, are believed to be killed each year across South Asia and the Middle East by family members over the disproval of relationships.
In February, an Uttar Pradesh woman was burnt alive by family members over an inter-faith relationship, police said. According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, more crimes were committed against women in Uttar Pradesh than in any other state.
If convicted, Kumar would face life in prison or the death penalty. The court also has the choice to fine him.