Hapur: A young man belonging to the Scheduled Castes and his Muslim wife were hacked to death in broad daylight in a village of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday - allegedly by the woman's brother - for defying the diktat of the panchayat and staying married.
Sonu, a 22-year-old craftsman, and Danishta Begum, 21, had got married four months ago. The couple was staying together at his house in Fatehpur village, approximately 75 km from Delhi .
The two families had been neighbours for 13 years. And the village is just 70 km from Muzaffarnagar, which witnessed communal riots last year.
But the local panchayat ordered they separate after the woman's family claimed they had not seen the certificate of marriage. The couple claimed they had got married in court.
Danishta shifted to her parents' home but when a week later, she went to meet her husband, her family became furious.
On Saturday, her brother Talib hacked Sonu to death with a sword in full public view. When his sister tried to intervene, he slit her throat as well.
The police have registered a case of murder. Talib and the girl's mother Noor Jehan, who surrendered at the police station, have been formally arrested. Four other accused are absconding - two brothers of the woman, Asif and Tasleem and their friends Zaffruddjn and Amiruddin.
"Caste or religion did not come into play in this murder, since the woman was living with her in-laws for four months. It was disobeying the panchayat that had provoked her family," said Rajinder Kumar, the superintendent of police, Hapur.
Sonu's father Satyavan said the murders were "pre-planned". The locality is predominantly Muslim and his family is the only scheduled caste family that stays there.
"My son was murdered in broad daylight and no one saved him. I will leave the village since I feel unsafe here. We don't feel anyone here is ready to help us if we get in trouble," he said.