15 June, 2021

A Line Of Control For Women

Ankit Saxena’s murder and khap killings over a woman’s free choice expose society’s anxiety about its property rights

Security personnel outside Ankit Saxena’s house in Delhi’s Raghubir Nagar
Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
A Line Of Control For Women

The headlines are relentless, every day bringing fresh news of society’s revenge upon women. The image is starkest in parts of India where they were lucky enough to live in the first place. Where gynocide—a genocide of newborn/unborn women—is a silent, ongoing routine. The acts of violence are a way of saying, in incredulity, ‘And then she has the gall to go and develop a free will!’ To think, act and, most of all, to love. Often the revenge takes the form of the object of her desire being crushed. The latest to join the list of young social martyrs is Ankit Saxena. On a list lengthening like a dark shadow over modern Indian life, it’s an intriguing presence: an inversion of the normal ‘love jehad’ pattern of Hindu girl/Muslim boy. Ankit’s killing is a way of saying: our right over our women is supreme; even a minority status won’t change it.

Classic honour killing, in short. Ins­tead of a regional caste, a nat­ional community feels the anger of someone trespassing on property. Love itself is...

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