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Published 13 January 2019

Police in India indicated that the family carried out the murder of their own teenage daughter motivated by their belief that she violated traditional norms.

The killing of a 16-year-old girl by her family from a village in the city of Gaya, Bihar state for allegedly eloping with a man has caused outrage among some in India who have taken to the streets to protest and hold candlelight vigils to denounce the “honor killing.”

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Two contradicting versions of the story have emerged. Police claim the family of the girl are responsible for the crime —some media claim she was doused in acid and decapitated— “It’s a case of honor killing,” said Gaya’s Police Chief Rajiv Kumar Mishra. On the other hand, the family claims the girl was raped and then murdered, according to news reports.

Kumar denied the family’s claims stating that the post-mortem report ruled out the allegations of rape and he also added that the relatives had failed to show up at the police station to record their statements making up “lame excuses,” which he believed confirmed suspicious about their involvement.

The police version indicates that the family carried out the murder of their own daughter motivated by their belief that she violated traditional norms, “The girl eloped with someone on Dec. 28 from her home in Patwa Panchayat but returned after three days. This angered the parents, who plotted the cold-blooded murder with the help of a butcher friend,” said Kumar.

In a desperate attempt to avoid responsibility for the act, the family blamed the police for being slow to find her daughter, who they reported missing on Dec. 28. However, the girl’s sister told police she had last seen her sister with a man who police have identified as a “butcher” who allegedly helped the family carry out the murder on Dec. 31.

The police further added that “we have picked up the butcher” who has “narrated the entire incident.” However, according to news reports, the family has so far not been detained.

Since 2016, there have been 69 reported honor killings in the country, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Yet, this may not reflect the gruesome reality of gender violence related to the criminal tradition of “honor killings,” which activists say would reveal a much higher rate of killings, which is exacerbated by “deeply patriarchal values and a lingering attachment to caste,” according to activists.

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