India

Eight arrested for stoning couple to death in Uttar Pradesh

/sai sreekanth mulagaleti/Open access

Eight people have been arrested in northern India for allegedly stoning to death a couple who eloped against the wishes of their families, police said Friday.

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Rajiv Verma and Renu Pal were a couple in their early 20s from Nagla Khuru, a village in the state of Uttar Pradesh. They ran away together last Sunday, but were allegedly stoned to death by a mob led by the bride’s family when they returned to their village on Monday.

Uttar Pradesh have declared the deaths an honour killing – a murder committed by a family which believes that its name has been sullied, in India often by a member marrying outside their caste, and that the death restores its honour.

There are no official statistics on honour killings, but one independent report claimed as many of 900 were committed each year in the northern Indian states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Last month India’s Supreme Court order governments to “ruthlessly stamp out” the killings and accused village caste councils of condoning the practice.

Last August Union Minister for Home Affairs P Chidambaram said he would present a bill to India's parliament to punish offenders with “more severity.”

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