Lucknow, India - May 4, 2011.
They fell in love and eloped, but their love was of no consequence for members of their communities, for whom marrying outside their caste (*) was a far graver crime.
On Monday, Rajiv Verma and Renu Pal were stoned to death in Nagla Khuru village in Farrukhabad district in Uttar Pradesh when angry members of the Lodhi community, to which Verma belonged, attacked the houses of the Pals.
Special director general of police Brijlal called it a case of honour killing. "They killed the couple because of their caste differences," he said.
Verma (25) used to teach Renu, a B. Sc. student at Government Degree College. They eloped on Saturday. But anticipating that Renu's family would not take it favourably, they returned home on Sunday.
But it was too late as Renu's relatives, who are Thakurs, dragged them out of their homes and stoned them to death.
"Over six members of the Pals sustained serious injuries. Cases have been registered against 12 people. The police have been deployed in the village," Brijlal said.
Vishwanath Pal, Renu's father, said: "We had warned them time and again. Although I tried to save them, the people were not ready to pardon them. Some of my family members were also involved."
(*) OODE NOTE : The Indian caste system is a system of social discrimination, generally identified with Hinduism, in India, in which communities are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called Jatis. The Jatis were grouped formally by the Brahminical texts under the four well known categories (the varnas), viz: Brahmins (scholars, teachers, fire priests), Kshatriyas (kings, warriors,law enforcers, administrators), Vaishyas (agriculturists, cattle raisers, traders, bankers), Shudras (artisans, craftsmen, service providers). Certain people like foreigners, nomads, forest tribes and the chandalas (who dealt with disposal of the dead) were excluded altogether and treated as untouchables.