Student hacked to death over inter-caste marriage in India

Indian student hacked to death and his wife injured in suspected 'honour killing' by relatives angered by their inter-caste marriage

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

India has long witnessed so-called honour killings, where couples are targeted because their families or communities disapprove of their relationships over caste or religion

The husband of an inter-caste marriage in India was hacked to death and his wife, from a higher caste, was critically injured in southern India in a suspected “honour killing” by relatives angered by their marriage.

Three men armed with sickles and sharp weapons attacked the 22-year-old student from the lowest Dalit caste and his wife on a crowded street in Tamil Nadu state on Sunday.

According to local police commissioner N. Manjunatha, the 19-year-old woman’s relatives were angered by the couple’s marriage.

"They married some eight months ago and the woman's family was unhappy. She is an upper Thevar Hindu caste and the man was a Dalit," he said and added that the woman is recovering at a local hospital and police are searching for her uncle in connection with the attack.

An Indian local media outlet showed the couple walking along the street when three men on a motorbike stop and attack them.

Thevars are a dominant community in Tamil Nadu while Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, are a historically marginalised community. 

Killing a family member who is believed to have brought shame on the family by being together with someone of a different religion or caste is a punishable traditional practice called "honour killing".

They are carried out by relatives or caste groups to protect what is seen as the family's reputation and pride.

There are no India-specific figures available, but United Nations statistics say 1,000 out of 5,000 killings take place in India every year is labeled as honour killings.

India's Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that those involved in honour killings should face the death penalty.

TRTWorld and agencies