Almost a week after a runaway couple was murdered in Rohtak district, a case of honour killing has been reported from this village in Panipat district.
According to the complaint lodged with the police, Meenakshi (19) was allegedly murdered by her family members and then cremated hurriedly on the Yamuna riverbed in the wee hours of Monday. Meenakshi, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste (SC) family, had recently married Annu, a youth from the Gujjar community, despite her family's opposition to their relationship.
Meenakshi's father Sat Narayan and brothers Praveen and Ajit were arrested under sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) at Bhapoli police station, Ravinder Singh, a relative of Sat Narayan, has also been arrested on the charge of conspiring in the crime. The complaint was lodged by Sat Narayan's neighbour Rampal Gujjar.
When the HT team reached the victim's house on Tuesday, only women were present there. Meenakshi's mother Nirmala claimed that the girl was found dead on Monday morning and cremated in the presence of several villagers. She said her daughter had been upset for unknown reasons and had not been taking food for the past almost 15 days.
"After she failed twice in the Class-10 examination, Meenakshi was pulled out of the local government school. She ran away from home a few days ago. She was found by the family from Bahadurgarh village in Safidon (Jind district)," Nirmala claimed.
"Someone has levelled false allegations that Meenakshi was killed by our family," the mother said.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Samalkha, Bali Singh told Hindustan Times that Annu of Safidon had told investigators that he had married Meenakshi on September 4 at a Panipat temple.
"Annu has claimed that Meenakshi was forcibly taken away by her family after their marriage as her parents were against it. We have asked him to produce documents to prove the marriage claim," the DSP said.
He added that the accused had confessed to the crime.
"When Meenakshi ran away from her house, ASI Ravinder Singh helped to trace her. Instead of registering a case of 'missing person', Ravinder connived with the family and later she was murdered," the DSP said.
Residents of Bhapoli area cremate bodies on the Yamuna riverbed and immerse the remains in the river. Villages in the area have no cremation grounds.
Samalkha DSP Bali Singh said the police got a tip-off on Monday about the cremation, but by the time they reached the spot, the river water had washed away the evidence.