Honor Killing

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Manoj-Babli honour killing case
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The Manoj-Babli honour killing case is the honour killing of newly-married Manoj Banwala and Babli in June 2007 after a khap panchayat (caste-based council among Jats) in their Karora village in Kaithal district, Haryana, passed a decree prohibiting marriage against societal norms. Both belonged to the Banwala gotra, a Jat community. Hence, they were declared brother and sister, though not directly related, and their marriage was recognised as invalid and incestuous. When the couple refused to abide by the ruling and got married, they were abducted and killed by Babli's relatives.[1][2]

After the verdict of the khap panchayat, the state government had raised no concern.[3] These self-styled caste-based councils, common in the inner regions of several Indian states, including Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Rajasthan, have been supposedly operating with political blessings for years.[1] However, after the killings, according to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the UPA-led central government is to propose an amendment to the Indian Penal Code to make honour killings a "distinct offense".[4][5][6]

In March 2010, a Karnal district court ordered the execution of the five perpetrators in this case, the first time a court in India has ordered justice be served in an honour killing case. The court gave life sentence to the khap head who ordered the killings but did not participate, while the driver in the kidnapping was sentenced to seven years. [edit] Background

Newlyweds garlanded with marigolds
Manoj Banwala after their marriage in Chandigarh in April 2007.

Both Manoj's family and Babli's family lived in Kaithal.

Manoj's mother, Chanderpati Berwal (55),[note 1] had four children—Seema (22),[note 1] Rekha, Vinod, and Manoj. Manoj (23)[note 2] was the eldest of the four.[1][7] Chanderpati was widowed at the age of 37, when Manoj was only 9.[1] Seema is a Haryana police constable, while Manoj's other sister Rekha and younger brother Vinod are students.[8][9][10] Manoj owns an electronics repair shop at Kaithal[11][12] and is the only member of his family receiving income.[1][5] Manoj's cousin, Narender, lives with the family and works in Panchkula.[9]

Babli's mother, Ompati (50),[note 1] also bore four children—eldest son, Suresh (25),[9], Babli (19),[note 3] a 16-year-old daughter,[note 1] and a 14-year-old son.[note 1] Like Manoj, Suresh was the only earning member of the family.[13] Babli was still studying in school.[14] Ompati is a widow.[note 4]

In 2005, Manoj and Babli began to show interest in each other.[14] Manoj was two years older than Babli. All residents of their Karora village belong to the same caste of Banwala, a Jat community, so marrying within the caste is considered a sacrilege.[5][17][18] Chanderpati[19] recalls, "We knew about Babli long before they decided to marry each other. She would call up often and I would sermonize to her about staying away from Manoj, fearing the fallout of such an alliance. They were, however, unconcerned and chatted for hours together. If I did walk into the room while they were talking, Manoj would quickly disconnect the phone and run off to avoid any questioning." She continued, "I even went to Babli's house and told her mother that Manoj and Babli were seeing each other. I asked her to dissuade Babli or quickly marry them before the word spread."[20]

Two years later, on April 5, 2007, Chanderpati last saw Manoj. "He ate his food and left to sleep at the shop since he had a class XII compartment exam in English to take the next day. Unlike other days, next morning, he did not show up."[20] On April 6, Babli's uncle sought to speak with Manoj. Chanderpati thought back, "He said he had come to recover some money that Manoj had borrowed, had tea and left when I told him that Manoj was away for an...
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