India records huge spike in 'honor killings' in 2015

India has registered a nearly 800 percent spike in the number of so-called honor killings reported last year, leading state officials and women's rights groups to demand investigations into how such crimes persist.

Junior Home Minister Hansraj G. Ahir told lawmakers this week that police registered 251 cases of honor killings in 2015, compared with just 28 a year earlier when India began counting them separately from murder.

The surge could partly reflect more willingness by people to report such crimes, which many still consider just punishment for women and men who defy communal customs by marrying outside of their religion, clan or caste. Often, the perpetrators are relatives seeking to punish young couples for bringing "shame" to the family.