PRESS RELEASE: Justice for Seeta
Southall Black Sisters launches a major campaign for justice for a British Asian mother of four and the victim of an honour killing in India. Public meeting on Wednesday 7 December 2016, 6pm Committee Room 10, Houses of Parliament.
Killed for Honour
On 31 March 2015, whilst on a family trip to India, Seeta Kaur – a 33-year-old British national of Indian origin and the mother of four young children – died suddenly in highly suspicious circumstances at the home of her husband and in-laws. Her husband claims that Seeta died of a sudden heart attack. But evidence strongly suggests that Seeta was the victim of an honour killing planned in the UK and executed in India. Seeta suffered years of domestic violence for refusing her husband’s relentless demands to allow one of her two sons to be adopted by her childless brother-in-law and sister-in-law who live in India and who wanted a male heir. It would appear that Seeta’s husband was prepared to go to any lengths to fulfil his promise and maintain his honour.
The case has many parallels with the recent high profile case of Samia Shahid, a British national woman from Bradford, who was lured to Pakistan and killed in the name of honour for divorcing her first husband and marrying her second husband against her family’s wishes.
Seeta’s devastated family have struggled for over a year to obtain justice. They have been shunted from pillar to post by the Indian and British authorities. The Indian Police have failed abysmally in their duty to investigate Seeta’s death as a crime. In the UK, both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Metropolitan Police have declined to assist the family in any meaningful way. They have claimed that they have no role to play in the investigation of Seeta’s death, despite the fact that this is a potential honour killing of a British national and that their failure contravenes existing policies, guidance and human rights law on honour-based violence.
Seeta’s family says:
“We feel numb and devastated. We feel hopeless, like being in a dark tunnel. We feel like we have been stabbed with a knife. Losing Seeta has affected our lives, our relationships with our partners, our jobs. Some of us have lost everything. We cannot sleep. We cannot get on with our lives.”
Pragna Patel, director of Southall black Sisters says:
“This tragic case of the blatant honour-based violence towards one of its citizens demands the most urgent attention of this government, in accordance with its own policies and guidelines as well as the requirements of human rights law. Instead, the response to date from the police, the FCO and the Home Office has been an exercise in apathy, amounting to nothing less than discrimination: it represents a collective abrogation of the government’s supposed commitment to tackling honour-based violence, and those responsible for this dereliction of duty should hang their head in shame.”
Shamik Dutta, solicitor for Seeta’s family says:
“Honour-based violence can only be eradicated if police forces recognise its international nature and if its perpetrators have nowhere to hide. Seeta’s family are entitled to a robust investigation that leaves no stone unturned; they now look to the Metropolitan Police to help them secure justice.”