Kaithal: In a landmark judgement that is bound to have repercussions on the decisions of panchayats over marriages etc., a court here on Thursday held six persons guilty for murder of a couple in their village as they were from the same caste and place.
Bubbly(19) and Manoj(23) of Karoda village in Kaithal district had eloped and married each other on May 18, 2007. When they returned, the village council or ‘khap panchayat’ decided that the marriage was ‘wrong’ as both belonged to the Jat community and were from the same village.
The six held guilty of murder included five relatives of Babli including her brother Suresh, cousins Gurdev and Satish, uncles Baru Ram and Rajender as well as an influential man of her village, Ganga Raj.
The panchayat decried that no one in village should keep any ties with Manoj’s family and that anyone violating the order will be fined Rs 25,000. The couple was found dead a few days later, near a canal in Hisar district.
What was perplexing about the case was the fact that Bubbly had recorded a statement with the magistrate who had directed the police to provide them protection.
The six persons were members of the council who provoked the double murder. The sessions court said it will announce the sentence March 29. The judge convicted a seventh man, a driver, for kidnapping.
The same panchayat is accused of being involved in at least one other such murder.
The public prosecutor said he would demand death sentence for the guilty.
“It is a case of brutal murder,” he said.