Disappearing turbans

A Canadian reader passed along this tragic story from the Toronto Star. It's about a man who killed his daughter-in-law. He said he did it to protect the family's honor. The article includes a lot of details about the crime and the cover-up and doesn't shy away from the fact that it's an honor killing:

Kamikar Singh Dhillon believed he "did the right thing" when he murdered his daughter-in-law in a frenzied knife attack.

He told a Brampton court Friday that he had to kill Amandeep Kaur Dhillon, 22, so she wouldn't disgrace his family.

Dhillon, 48, admitted he had intentionally stabbed her multiple times because he believed she was having an affair with another man and was about to leave her husband.

For what it's worth, police say they found no evidence to support the allegation of an affair, and the victim's family vehemently denies his claims. The thing the reader found odd is that the story gives no "explanation as to what code of family honour is in view here." There are little hints thrown around. The man speaks through a Punjabi interpreter in the court and the family came from India. Are they Hindu? Muslim? Jain? Sikh? Christian? No clue. Are there any other cultural clues about what influenced this man? No. And that's a shame.

I researched a bit and found this July 2009 story about Dhillon's arrest. In the accompanying photo, he's wearing a Sikh turban. The story refers to a "Sikh family conflict." Turbans represent piety for Sikhs and mark an important part of Sikh identity. So it's also fascinating that the court sketch accompanying this most recent story shows Dhillon without a turban. Does the removal of the turban have something to do with Canadian law, a change of heart or some type of discipline from the Sikh community? Or what? I'd love to know but, unfortunately, this is not considered important enough to note, much less investigate.

I also thought this note was interesting:

"The defendant repeatedly told the police during the same videotaped interview that under these circumstances, he had done the right thing by killing the deceased," Sherriff said. "The police interviewer strategically suggested that the media and community should be made aware of what he had done and that it was the right thing to do."

"The defendant agreed. . . . He wanted the police to tell the media that he was justified in killing the deceased (because) of the imminent disgrace to his family name."

It would be nice to have a bit of explanation as to why Dhillon wanted the media to spread the word that he was justified. Honor killings may be more popular in Canada and the States than they used to be but that doesn't mean they're well understood. Sometimes newspapers confuse me. The whole industry is suffering from lack of readership but they fail to give readers just basic details on salacious crimes. That's a problem even if there aren't religious ghosts floating about.

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