A Dalit couple and their son were killed in Haryana’s Sonepat in a suspected case of “honour killing” but a pregnant woman injured in the attack gave birth to a baby boy in hospital, police said.
The woman was among two people injured when unidentified people fired on the family at their residence on Friday night, police added.
Police identified the victims as Pradeep Kumar (27), his mother Sunita and father Suresh.
Pradeep’s wife Susheela, in her mid-twenties, and brother Suraj were admitted to a government hospital in Rohtak with bullet injuries.
Susheela, who was nine months’ pregnant, was hit by three bullets, police said. However, doctors managed to save her baby by conducting a Caesarean section the same night.
Police suspect the incident could be a result of Susheela, an upper-caste Jat, marrying Pradeep against her family’s wishes four years ago.
Police officer Karambir Singh said they were trying to ascertain if the assailants used a white SUV to reach the incident site.
“We have learnt that Susheela’s brother Monu has been using a stolen white Duster for a while now,” Singh said.
“Though a murder case has been registered against unidentified people, we believe Susheela’s family members may be behind the crime.”
Most of the honour killings are committed by family members for romantic liaisons or for marrying against set societal norms. Activists say the crime is under-reported and many such killings are covered up. Convictions for such crimes are also very rare.
Haryana, which has a very patriarchal society, is one of the states with a high rate of the so-called honour killings.
Last year, one of the state’s khaps -- traditional village bodies – had asked people to stop girls above ten years from wearing jeans and using mobile phones to end honour killings.