A case of honour killing has been reported for the first time in Nizamabad district, an area that has an unsavoury reputation for child marriage, child prostitution and the devdasi system.
A Reddy woman and her lover, a Dalit, were stoned to death on Wednesday at Krishnajiwadi village, 200 km north-west of Hyderabad, in full public view.
The manner of the killing and the issue involved have two parallels — the first found in tribal regions of the North-West Frontier Provinces in Pakistan and the second is in tune with similar occurrences in Haryana, Rajasthan and west UP.
The police said Swapna (22), belonging to the landowning and powerful Reddy clan, had eloped with Sunkara Srinivas (32), a Dalit, nearly four months ago, causing outrage in the girl’s community.
Srinivas, who was already married and had two children, worked as a computer programmer in Hyderabad.
They returned to the village three days ago, hoping that people had “forgiven” them.
On Wednesday, Swapna’s relatives called the couple on the pretext of discussing some issues. They then started thrashing Srinivas and Swapna.
A crowd of 30 people tied them to a pole and pelted stones, killing them eventually.
"The girl had eloped once earlier and the parents lodged a complaint with the police. But she returned after three months
and stated that she had gone on her own, and the case was withdrawn. This time the relatives’ suspicion was confirmed after Swapna went missing and soon after Srinivas too was not to be found,” Nizamabad Superintendent of Police Venkateshwar Rao said.
“We have arrested three persons,” Sub-Inspector Vijaya Kumar said.