Karnal: When her newly-married son, Manoj, was found floating in a canal, his young bride beside him, Chanderpati had no doubt about who was responsible.
Two years ago, Babli's family bitterly opposed her wedding with 23-year-old Manoj. The reason: they belonged to the same gotra or sub-caste, which, in many villages in Haryana, means they're considered siblings.
Babli's family had asked the local khap panchayat for help. In the villages of Haryana, these khap panchayats are caste councils known to act with vengeance when their diktats are ignored.
In Manoj and Babli's case, the khap panchayat asked them to dissolve their marriage. In Manoj's village, other families were ordered not to talk to the young couple.
Manoj decided to move with Babli to a different village. He also asked the police for help, which accompanied the young couple to court. The judge there ordered police protection for Babli and Manoj.
Yet, barely a week later, they were found dead.
Now, five of Bali's relatives, including her brother, and the head of the khap panchayat that acted against her have been found guilty. Their sentence is exacting: death sentence for five, life imprisonment for one, and seven years in prison for a man who helped abduct the young couple.
Story first published:
March 30, 2010 08:28 IST