South Asia

Eight arrested for stoning Indian couple to death

Caste council meeting (file photo)
Image caption Village councils and elders sometimes frown upon marriages within different castes

Police in India say they have arrested eight people for stoning to death a young couple who had a love affair which met with their disapproval.

The accused include the parents of the murdered woman, who died alongside her lover. He came from a lower social group in Uttar Pradesh state.

There have been many cases in India where people have been killed for defying tradition and family honour.

Often these crimes are endorsed, or even encouraged, by village elders.

In the latest instance, police believe that Rajiv Verma and his girlfriend Renu Pal were stoned to death by a mob of about 200 people, including many of the girl's relatives.

The officer in charge of the investigation told the BBC that Renu's mother was suspected of playing a leading role in the killings.

The couple were murdered apparently because of the mob's "shame" that Renu, a student, should fall in love with her teacher, who came from a lower social group or caste.

The police said that community leaders had warned the couple to break off their relationship, but three days before their deaths, they ran off together.

Last month India's Supreme Court warned senior officials that they could be prosecuted if they failed to prevent such killings from taking place.

It said that in some cases village councils had encouraged or even ordered the deaths.

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