ranjeeta sharma was [allegedly] burned to death by her husband, who has now left the country with their four-year old son. it's a tragic and awful death, and my condolences go to her family and friends.
i'm sure their grief is not made any easier by widespread speculation of whether or not this is an "honour killing", though there has been no evidence that i've seen in media reports to date which could give any rise to such speculation. it's enough that ms sharma is of indian ethnicity, and bride-burning happens in india.
isn't it enough that this is a crime of domestic violence, that this woman has been cruelly murdered by someone who was close to her? i don't understand why there's the need to add the extra level of sensationalism, especially at this stage. really, would fewer papers be sold, would fewer people follow the news of this if it didn't have the possibility of an honour killing? i would hope not, yet sadly i have to consider that it may be so.
at least one positive thing about the reporting is that there is no mention anywhere of her religion. had she been muslim, i doubt that would have been the case. yet the focus on her ethnicity rather than on the violence that lead to her death is disturbing. it not only serves to other the victim, it also has an underlying tone of othering the violence ie the violence becomes something "they" do and that "we" don't do, or at least not so much. it takes focus away from the fact that violence against women happens everywhere, and needs a strong response across the whole community.
in the meantime, i desperately hope they catch the murderer. i hope her son will find caregivers who can help him to deal with this tragedy and protect him from further violence. and i wish we could have more constructive conversations around violence and how to stop it happening.