Tuesday, March 30, 2010

5 men have been sentenced to death and 1 jailed for life in India over the 2007 murder of a couple who married against the wishes of village elders

The court in the northern state of Haryana has convicted the men of the murders of Manoj and Babli, who were killed a month after they eloped. Elders said they violated local customs by marrying within the same sub-caste. Observers say this may be the first time an Indian court has awarded such a penalty over an honor killing case. The young couple were kidnapped while they were travelling on a bus in Haryana in 2007. Their bodies were discovered later. Those sentenced to death are all relatives of the girl, Babli, and include her brother, two uncles and two cousins. The head of the village council in Haryana's Kaithal district, which ruled against the couple's marriage, was given life imprisonment. A driver found to have helped abduct the couple was given a seven-year prison term. The village council said that by local tradition people within the same sub-caste are considered to be siblings. The case was brought by the family of Manoj, Babli's husband. Unconfirmed media reports say that the couple had approached the police with their fears shortly before they were kidnapped and killed. Campaigners hailed the verdict as a blow against honor killings, which are quite common in parts of northern India. Such killings have often not been reported or widely discussed in the past because families usually accept the verdicts.

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