Court orders hanging of 5 of family for killing lovers

Friday

A Delhi court on Friday sentenced five of a family, including two women, to death by hanging, holding them guilty of "cold-blooded, pre-planned and brutal murder" of two lovers.

Nineteen-year-old Yogesh and 18-year-old Asha were beaten, tied with ropes and electrocuted, allegedly by Asha's parents, uncle, aunt and a cousin after they told the family that they planned to marry. The "honour killing" took place on June 14, 2010 in Swaroop Nagar in North Delhi.

Awarding the death penalty, Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar Singhal said: "It is clear from the evidence on record that both... wanted to marry each other... the convicts snatched the lives of both... prior to the fulfilment of their dreams and plans for the life ahead."

He said there were no mitigating circumstances in favour of Omprakash, Suraj, Sanjeev, Maya and Khushboo as the offence was committed in a " brutal, barbaric and inhuman manner" to figure in the category of the "rarest of rare" cases deserving the death penalty.

"Omprakash, Suraj, Khushboo, Sanjeev and Maya are hereby directed to be hanged by neck till their death," ASJ Singhal said.

According to the prosecution, when threats did not work, Asha's family called Yogesh to the house of Omprakash, her paternal uncle, on the night of June 13, 2010. Yogesh was told that the family wanted to discuss his marriage. When Yogesh and his brother-in-law Rakesh reached the house, Omprakash, son Sanjeev and Asha's father Suraj threatened and assaulted them. Rakesh fled the house.

Asha's family, the prosecution said, was opposed to the relationship since Yogesh belonged to a lower caste.

The bodies of Yogesh and Asha were discovered from the house the next morning in a bloodied and battered condition. There were burn marks on the bodies, suggesting that they had been electrocuted.

Neighbours told the court that they heard shouts from the house during the night. An eyewitness said he had seen the three men beating the boy and the women "keeping vigil".

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