Indian media express anger over 'honour killings'

Police at the scene of the crime in Rohtak The killing of the Haryana couple has led to outrage in India

Media in India are expressing anger over the "horrific" killing of a couple who were planning to marry despite family opposition.

Police say 23-year-old Dharmender Barak was beaten and beheaded and his 20-year-old girlfriend Nidhi killed in Rohtak district in the northern state of Haryana in what the NDTV website calls "a shocking example of medieval-style killings in the name of family honour".

Such killings are "chillingly common in villages of Haryana dominated by the lawless 'khap panchayats' (caste councils of village elders) who forbid marriages within the same village or same caste", the report says.

It adds that the Haryana Human Rights Commission has taken note of the killings and asked for a report from the police.

Women's rights groups have also expressed "deep shock and anguish" over the incident.

"Such barbaric crimes continue unabated and reminding of medieval period," The Deccan Herald quotes a woman's rights activist as saying.

Mamata Sharma, chief of the National Commission for Women, says "this killing should be treated like a murder case and the guilty must be punished".

The CNN-IBN website says it is "more shocking" that woman's girl's father, Billu, shows "no remorse".

"I have no regrets. What happened is correct and should happen in the future too for society's good," the website quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, newspaper are reporting a "fresh controversy" over India's nuclear liability bill ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the US.

The bill stipulates that nuclear firms aiming to set up plants in India will have to pay 15bn rupees ($322m; £207m) in case of an accident.

But some private firms, especially in the US, have been reluctant to set up plants in India saying the figure is too high.

But recent media reports suggest that Mr Singh may relax the rules after an advice from the attorney general who has suggested that it should be left to the operator of the individual plant to decide whether the liability law should be upheld in the contract, reports the NDTV website.

"Ahead of Mr Singh's visit to the US, a controversy has broken out over the nuclear liability law with reports suggesting that an agreement will be signed which may not be in tune with the law," The Indian Express says.

The government, however, denies allegations that it is trying to bypass the law following the attorney general's advice.

"Foreign minister Salman Khurshid has denied suggestions that the government is trying to circumvent India's nuclear liability law in its proposed contract with US firm Westinghouse ahead of Mr Singh's visit to Washington later this month," The Telegraph reports.

'Record-breaking' minister

Moving on to defence news, the navy will soon float a global tender to salvage submarine Sindhurakshak, which sank at a port in Mumbai after a massive explosion on 13 August, The Pioneer reports.

The 3,000-tonne submarine sank to the bottom of the sea at a depth of seven metres after the explosion, killing all 18 crew members, the report adds.

And finally, a minister from the central state of Madhya Pradesh has achieved a "record-breaking feat" by laying the foundation of 2,551 projects in eight hours in a single day, The Times of India reports.

Due to his "blinding speed to beat the deadline before the poll code of conduct comes into force" minister Gopal Bhargava can now "vie for a place in the Guinness Book of Records", the report adds.

The code of conduct states that ministers cannot lay foundations for new projects once poll dates are announced.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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