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Couple beaten, forced to marry by angry elders

india Updated: Sep 29, 2009 16:12 IST

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Love doesn't need the sanctity of marriage - this defiant reply by a young couple in love so enraged elders in an Uttar Pradesh village that they rained blows on the duo and forced them to marry in a temple, police said on Tuesday.

Jailesh, 23, and Prabha, 20, residents of Soti village in Bijnor district, about 350 km from here, were brought before a village panchayat when they were found roaming together in an orchard on Monday evening.

"A panchayat was convened to punish them," Gyandev, a local villager, told reporters.

The love-struck couple were told sternly that young people had no right to fall in love before their marriage.

However, the couple said they believed in love before marriage and would continue to meet.

Infuriated by the reply, the village council members and other villagers assaulted the duo - slapped, kicked and beat them with shoes and slippers, according to a villager Chhote Lal.

The panchayat members then forced Jailesh to marry Prabha in a nearby temple, locals said.

Jailesh had told the panchayat he was looking for a better job and would marry Prabha as soon as he landed one.

Police have initiated an enquiry into the matter, but no arrest has been made yet.

"We came to know about the matter from local journalists and have begun our investigations," senior police inspector Satish Kumar told IANS over telephone, promising "strict action" against the guilty.