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Delhi police make arrests after ‘honour killing’

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Police in the Indian capital, Delhi, say a teenage girl and her boyfriend have been murdered in what they suspect is a gruesome case of “honour killing”.


Caste leaders frown upon marriages within the same sub-caste

Aisha Saini and Yogesh Kumar, both 19, were beaten with metal rods and then electrocuted, police say. The girl’s father and uncle have been arrested.

According to police, the girl’s family disapproved of the relationship because her boyfriend was from another caste.

Cases of suspected “honour killing” are rare in the Indian capital.

Correspondents say the killings – long a taboo subject in India – are now being reported more often. There have been a number of recent cases in regions near Delhi.

‘Bleeding’

The couple’s mutilated bodies were recovered early on Monday after neighbours complained of a foul smell emanating from the uncle’s house in Swaroop Nagar area in north-west Delhi.

“When we found the bodies – the couple’s legs and hands were tied and they were bleeding,” Delhi’s deputy police commissioner NS Bundela told a news conference.

“The couple had been electrocuted as well, but we will wait for the full post-mortem report.”

He said the girl’s father and uncle had been arrested “but three suspects still remain at bay”.

Police say Ms Saini’s family feared she would elope with Yogesh and he was called to her uncle’s home on Sunday on the pretext of discussing the relationship.

According to the Hindustan Times, neighbours went to the house on Sunday but were told that a family matter was being discussed.

A police official quoted in the newspaper said the assault went on for hours.

The couple were beaten with “iron rods and other blunt weapons” before being forced to sit on iron trunks to which live wires were attached and they were electrocuted, he said.

“This is a barbaric act of violence and should be condemned. It is my duty to get the perpetrators punished,” Delhi’s Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia said.

So-called “honour killings” are fairly common in parts of northern India, but rarely heard of in the Indian capital.

In April, five men were sentenced to death and one jailed for life over the 2007 murder of a young couple who married against the wishes of village elders in Haryana state, not far from Delhi.

Elders said they had violated local customs by marrying within the same sub-caste.

Social activists say many young men and women die every year in northern states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Some commit suicide, others are killed – often with the approval, tacit or otherwise, of village councils that still wield considerable power.

Family questioned in India journalist death

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NEWS

Police in India are questioning the father and brother of a Delhi-based journalist found dead last week in a suspected “honour killing” case.


Miss Pathak was a journalist working in Delhi

Nirupama Pathak was found dead in her parents’ home in Jharkhand state. An autopsy revealed that she was pregnant.

She was reportedly in a relationship with a man from a different caste.

On Monday Miss Pathak’s mother was arrested and charged with her murder. Her family deny all the allegations and say she committed suicide.

Miss Pathak’s family reported her death last Thursday. They said she was found hanging from the ceiling fan in her room and produced two suicide notes.

But an autopsy report showed the death was “a clear case of murder… caused by asphyxia as a result of smothering,” the AFP news agency quoted senior Jharkhand police officer MS Bhatia as saying.

The autopsy also showed that Pathak was pregnant, fuelling suspicions that this was a case of honour killing, police said.

Miss Pathak, 22, was a high-caste Hindu Brahmin living in Delhi and reportedly in a relationship with another journalist, Priyabhanshu Ranjan, who was from a lower caste.

Police say that her parents had opposed the idea of their daughter “marrying someone from outside their caste”.

Correspondents say that honour killings in the villages of northern India have long been reported.

But if Miss Pathak’s case is found to be an instance of honour killing, it would be rare given her education and her urban background.