In his early 20s, Arjun Singh, the panchayat chief of Dayalpur village in Uttar Pradesh's 'Jat' dominated Meerut district was different from many others of his ilk and had strongly favoured freedom of choice in marriages.
Barely a few days back he had helped two lovers tie the nuptial knot virtually taking on the powerful 'khaps' (community panchayats), which had always been against love marriages.
The 24-year-old 'pradhan', however, had not imagined that his progressive ideas would turn fatal for him one day.
On Friday evening Arjun was shot dead near Morna village by members of the girl's family allegedly for facilitating love marriage, according to the police sources here.
Police said that Arjun was sprayed with bullets as he entered Morna village by jeep borne assailants. He died on the spot.
Angry locals later blocked a busy road leading to Meerut town in protest against the killing and also damaged some vehicles besides clashing with the cops when they tried to take away the body for postmortem.
Police said that the family of the girl, whose father is a former block president, was opposed to her marriage and had warned of consequences.
A case was lodged against three people (members of the girl's family) and a hunt was launched to nab them, the police said adding that security personnel in strength has been deployed in the village.