A 19-year-old Indian girl was burned to death in front of a village gathering in Uttar Pradesh's Deoria district on Thursday. The horrific act was carried out by the family of the man she loved.
The incident took place in a village called Karahkol, which lies about 475km from the capital city of Lucknow. According to reports, the girl's mother was brutally assaulted, in public, before her daughter was burned.
The victim, identified as Anju, was in love with a man called Ranjit, from the same village. Her mother, Gyanwati, told the Indian Express the couple were in a relationship for two years. Ranjit recently secured a job in Hyderabad, in Andhra Pradesh state, where he is now a resident.
On Wednesday, Gyanwati went to Ranjit's father, Jai Hind Patel, to approve their children's marriage but was turned down over caste concerns. The mother then approached village head Akhand Pratap Singh, who held a public hearing and ruled against her request.
It appears the violence broke out after the mother objected to the village elders' decision. She was then physically assaulted and when Anju ran to help her mother, her prospective husband's family poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.
By the time police arrived, Anju suffered 85% burns and died en route to the Gorakhpur Medical College for treatment.
A First Information Report (FIR) police report has charged seven people with the crime, two of whom have been arrested. One of the arrested is believed to have been identified as Kapil, although his connection to Ranjit's family is unknown.
According to Umesh Kumar Srivastava, the Superintendent of Police for Deoria, a case of murder has been registered against the Ranjit's father and his accomplices.