Inter-caste marriage ends in honour killing 

screamed the headlines in The Times Of India news report yesterday. 

The mutilated body of a 23-year-old youth, Ajit Saini, was found a week after the murder. The poor youth 

was brutally killed by the brother of the Jat girl he loved and claimed to have married. 

SP Praveen Kumar said the brother, Anuj, was opposed to the alliance and has told police that 

“he could not take it anymore and that the two had crossed all limits”.  

  The Hindu stated that 

The girl’s brother, reportedly confessed to killing the boy, as his affair with his sister compromised their family honour. 

Today’s newspapers tell us that this was the honour killing that wasn’t. 

Apparently the very much alive couple read the news reports of Saini’s murder and 

“decided to go to the police station and tell the police that they are alive.” 

Deciding beforehand that the girl’s brother was guilty, Saini’s relatives identified ‘his body’ with no forensic evidence, and the police accepted this identification. The police also insist that the girl’s brother, Anuj confessed to ‘his crime’. However- 

“I confessed under pressure from the police. I wanted to protect my family,” said Anuj Tomar, Anshu Tomar’s brother. 

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Update- 11.05.2010.-

 Muzaffarnagar police sent Anshu Tomar to a women protection home in Saharanpur after seeking the court’s permission while Ajit is being interrogated. The police also got a medical examination conducted on Anshu to ascertain her age and whether she had been raped. The report is awaited.

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Honour killings do, unfortunately, still take place in our country. The mindset of society must change, regarding taboos of caste, gotra, social standing, etc. And those guilty must certainly be punished. I would advocate for the harshest punishment for those guilty of murder in the name of ‘family honour’. 

However, is it too much to ask that people innocent of murder NOT be arrested for murder, and confessions NOT extracted from them, by who knows what means? 

We can understand that the relatives of the so-called ‘murdered’ boy, want the relatives of the girl punished for opposing the marriage. But that does not give them the right to have them arrested for a murder that never happened! 

Is a ‘confession’ sufficient to have a suspect arrested? Do the police not need any actual evidence? Since murder trials run on for years in India, a person thus arrested may spend years in prison before, and if, he is judged innocent at the end of his trial. 

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Just yesterday I read about the case of a ‘murdered’ man in China who reappeared after ten years. His unfortunate ‘murderer’-

 had served 10 years of a 29-year sentence after confessing to killing Zhao Zhenshang in a hatchet fight in central China’s Henan province, the China Daily reported this weekend.

Convictions in the Chinese court system are strongly dependent on confessions, motivating police to use force to get a confession and close the case. 

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I wonder how many such ‘murderers’ are languishing in Indian prisons after having ‘confessed’ before the police?  

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