Girl killed for choosing lover over panchayat

But her family rejects honour killing tag

Yet another girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Jat land paid with her life for falling in love.
The girl, who refused to desert her lover as ordered by the panchayat of her village in Baghpat district, was allegedly strangled on Sunday night.

Her remains were consigned to flames in the wee hours even before police could be informed about the incident.

According to reports, Ranjana (name changed), a resident of Nibali village in the district, was having an affair with a youth of a nearby village for the last few years.  But her family members did not approve of their relationship and had warned her against continuing it.

A panchayat of community elders had been convened in the village three days ago to discuss the matter.

According to witnesses, the panchayat had ordered the girl to forget her lover, and had warned of serious consequences.

Nobody helped

The girl was allegedly thrashed and then strangled late on Sunday night. While neighbours did hear her cries for help, none dared to rush to her rescue, reports said.
She was cremated in the wee hours even before police could be informed.

“Some people claimed that it was an honour killing, but the girl’s family said she died of illness,” a police official said. “The matter will be investigated.”

Two months ago, a panchayat of several community members in Asara village in the same district had banned love marriages and had warned of punishment if its orders were violated.

The Asara panchayat had declared that those marrying against the wishes of the family won’t be allowed to live in the village.

“Love marriages will not be accepted. Such couples will be thrown out of villages,” the panchayat, attended by members of at least 36 communities, including Hindus and Muslims, had declared.

Panchayats in Uttar Pradesh are infamous for their insensitive and at times bizarre diktats.

They are also known to have pronounced death penalty for lovers and even let off rape accused by imposing fines.

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