This morning, Grandmothers were saving lives. Now, just a few hours later, they're being found guilty of murder. The news is seeing more and more about the terrifying 'honour killings' that seem to be happening amongst families.
Bachan Athwal from Hayes, even boasted to relatives that she had got a relative to strangle her daughter-in-law, Surjit Athwal, and throw her body into a river in Punjab. This was nine years ago. Despite the horror of this crime, it has taken almost a decade for Bachan Athwal and her son, who also commited fraud, to be convicted. The Old Bailey won't sentence them until September.
So why was she killed? Surjit was having an affair with a married man. No one apart from those involved know if she was in love with this man, but she did want a divorce from her husband. In most religions, divorce is a huge issue. Instead of dealing with this, the Sikh family called a meeting to discuss having her killed. According to another family member Sarbjit Athwal, Bachan had said "she wasn't getting on and was causing too much confusion in the family". Confusion, generally leads to discussion. And family meetings are all well and good. Last time we checked, family meetings ended in a cup of tea. Not a cold-blooded murder.
Surjit was just 16 when she met her husband on her wedding day in 1988. Her body has never been found. There is no honour in this. Bachan Athwal destroyed her family's honour when she committed a brutal and unnecessary crime.
Image taken from Liz Highleyman's flickr stream.