Honour killing: Death for 5

Marriage

A sessions court in Karnal today awarded the death penalty to five men for the murder of a young couple who had angered a khap panchayat by marrying within the same gotra. A sixth accused was awarded life imprisonment.

Hailed as the first conviction in an honour killing case in Haryana, the judgment is being seen as a stern message to khap panchayats.

Finding the murder of Manoj (23) and Babli (19) a fit case of the "rarest of rare" category, Additional District and Sessions Judge Vani Gopal Sharma sentenced to death Babli's brother Suresh, uncles Rajender and Baru Ram, and cousins Gurdev and Satish.

Ganga Raj, who called the khap panchayat that declared the marriage invalid and was present when the killings took place, was awarded a life term. A seventh accused, Mandeep Singh, the driver of the car in which the bodies were transported to a canal, was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Manoj and Babli, residents of Karora village in Kaithal district, married on May 18, 2007. Since they belonged to the same gotra, the khap panchayat declared the marriage invalid. On June 15, 2007, they were kidnapped and murdered.

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