LUCKNOW, India (AP) — The father and brother of a 20-year-old Indian woman have been sentenced to death for killing her and her husband for marrying within the same Hindu clan, police said Thursday.
Eight other family members also were given the death penalty by a trial court on Wednesday for the killings three years ago in the northern Uttar Pradesh state, said Brij Lal, a top police officer. The defendants can appeal to a higher court.
Judge Rajendra Babu Singh said the punishments should serve as a lesson to all those who kill in the name of saving family honor.
Last month, India’s top court recommended the death penalty for perpetrators of “honor killings,” calling the practice barbaric and feudal.
While there are no official figures, an independent study found that around 900 people are killed each year in India for defying their elders. Most victims are young adults who fell in love or married against their families’ wishes. In some cases, village councils ordered couples killed who married inside their clan or outside their caste.
The 10 defendants were convicted of killing Vijaya and Udaipal Singh, who lived in the same village in Etah, a town 155 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.
Vijaya Singh’s parents opposed the marriage but she defied them, eloping with her lover and getting married secretly in a Hindu temple. They started living in another village.
Vijaya Singh’s father, Ramesh Pal Singh, her brother and other relatives went to the couple’s home, shot them to death and buried their bodies in a paddy field, the prosecution said. Police arrested the 10 suspects two years ago.