Four months after he married the girl he loved, 22-year-old Ved Pal was lynched on Wednesday night by his in-laws, who were against the relationship, and people of their village.
The police are now looking for the girl, Sonia (18), who uses only one name, as they fear that she, too, could end up dead.
Pal, a Mor Jat, and Sonia, who belongs to the Banwala gotra, had defied a local custom — marriages between their two gotras, or sub-castes, is taboo — when they wed on March 10.
On March 19, the Banwala khap (caste) panchayat ordered “strict action” against the “defiant couple”.
In Haryana, especially rural areas, caste panchayats hold great influence and almost dictate social life.
Wednesday night, Pal, a resident of Mataur village in Kaithal district, accompanied by an officer of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and some policemen came to Singhwal, 165 km from state capital Chandigarh, to take his wife home. The court had ordered that Sonia be freed from her parents’ custody.
As soon as the group reached the village, a mob descended on it and took Pal away. He was beaten to death. They didn’t let anyone remove the body from a village crossing until senior officials reached the village in the night.
Jind Superintendent of Police Sateesh Balan told HT that court officer Suraj Bhan and four policemen were injured in the attack. “As soon as the team reached the village, Pal disappeared in the dark. By the time the policemen spotted him again, he was being thrashed by a mob,” he said.
Panchayat of Pal’s village met on Thursday morning and is said to have decided to avenging his murder.
Fearing more bloodshed, the district authorities are frantically trying to trace the girl.