Gruesome face of 21st century India: Same ‘gotra’couple murdered

They deserved it, says village

Mahasabha upholds killing of couple who married in same gotra

By RAJENDRA KHATRY
KARORA VILLAGE (KAITHAL, HARYANA), JULY 3

MANOJ Banwala, 23 and Babli Banwala, 18, could have never imagined such a brutal end to their love story. Despite police protection, granted to them by the Kaithal police on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the two were chased, caught, and killed allegedly by members of the girl’s family.

Now, most villagers in Karora are justifying the honour killing. “They (the couple) deserved it. They did the unthinkable and were punished justifiably. Tell me will you ever marry your sister,” says Surender Singh. The Jat Mahasabha too has reportedly justified the killing and vowed to protect the killers.

Manoj, a TV mechanic, and Babli, a schoolgirl, lived in the same village. They decided to tie the knot three months ago, and their gotracame in the way.

Manoj and Babli belonged to the same gotra and the same kul. Under the gotra system still practised with much vigour by the Jats in Haryana, this meant they were brother and sister.

They eloped on April 6. The family of Babli lodged a complaint against Manoj at Rajound Police Station near Pundri. Meanwhile, on May 18, the two got married and sought protection from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On June 15, they were on a bus near Karnal when they were chased and killed by Babli’s relatives.

Manoj’s mother Chandrapati says, “They put a noose around my son’s neck and dragged him till he died. Not content with this, they tied Babli’s hands and feet and threw her in the Barwala canal in Karnal along with Manoj.”

The bodies were recovered near Hisar on June 23. The police cremated them as unclaimed. It was only six days later that Manoj’s mother Chandrapati learnt about the couple’s death. The breakthrough in the case came when Mandeep, the taxi driver who had helped the five accused chase the couple, was arrested.

The Karnal police have arrested five of the six accused.

- Indian Express (July4, 2007)

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