In a horrific case of suspected honor killing, a young couple was allegedly tortured and beaten to death by the 20-year-old woman’s family members because they did not approve of their relationship.
The two were tortured for hours before the woman’s family beat her to death in public view. They then broke her 23-year-old boyfriend’s arms and legs before beheading him and dumping his body outside his family’s house.
The woman, Nidhi Barak, was a fine arts student and her boyfriend, Dharmender Barak, was pursuing a diploma in information technology. The two had eloped to Delhi from their village in the north Indian state of Haryana. They were planning to get married against their families wishes.
According to diktats of the community councils in Haryana, marriages within the same village and community are not allowed. Both Nidhi and Dharmender belonged to the Jat community.
Nidhi’s family convinced them to return to the village with assurances that neither would be harmed. When the couple returned, Nidhi’s family, including her parents, brother, and uncle murdered them for violating the family’s honor. The police, alerted by a villager, arrived just as Nidhi’s family had partially cremated her body on a burning pyre.
A BBC reporter at the scene said that the men who were burning the woman’s body “looked grim but remorseless.”
They said they had no option but to kill the couple because they had brought disrepute to the families and village. Some of those attending the woman’s cremation said they had had to kill the two to teach others a lesson. We cannot allow marriage in the same community, they said. The girl and the boy, who both belonged to the Jat community, had been in love for two years.
Police have arrested the woman’s mother, father, brother, and uncle. The young couple’s bodies have been sent for postmortem.
No official figures are available for honor killings in India, but hundreds of couples who fall in love and marry against their families wishes are murdered every year. The National Commission for Women in India said it investigates 70-80 possible cases a month.