Karnal: A Haryana court on Tuesday awarded the death penalty to five people in the honour killing case of a couple in 2007.
The court in Karnal declared the quantum of punishment for the six people who were found guilty of killing the young couple – Manoj and Babli - for marrying outside their gotra (sub-caste) three years ago.
All the five who have been given the death sentence are relatives of the girl, Babli. They include her brother Suresh, cousins Gurdev and Satish, uncles Baru Ram and Rajender.
The khap (caste) panchayat leader Ganga Ram got life sentence while the driver, who was held guilty of kidnapping, was give a jail term of seven years.
Manoj's sibling, who had been waging a lonely battle to get justice, were elated with the decision.
Manoj's sister Seema said that though she was happy with the verdict and the sentencing but wanted even Ganga Ram to be given the death penalty.
"I am very happy but the life sentence to Ganga Ram is not justified. Even he should have been given death penalty. We have asked the High Court for security cover. As of now there is a lot of police in the village. The decision of the panchayat was not justified and people should not to allowed to misuse their power. We have fought this battle alone. The society or family did not support us. There was a lot of pressure on us to take back the case. The accused even tried to bribe us to take back the case," she said.
Her brother Narender said that they would appeal for death penalty to Ganga Ram, in the High Court.
We will appeal in High Court for death penalty to the main accused, Ganga Ram. We respect the court's decision but main accused Ganga Ram should also have been given death penalty," said Narender.
Public prosecutor Lal Bahadur welcomed the decision.
"Out of seven accused, five have been given death sentence. One has been given life sentence and one has been given years of imprisonment. Rs 1 lakh as compensation has been ordered by the court to be given to victims' families," said Bahadur.
"This is a very good decision. We welcome the decision. This is a strong message to the public and this is a message to the khap," said Bahadur.
"People will have more confidence in justice. Order has been directed by the court to take action against two policemen for laxity and directions has been given to the SP to take necessary action. This is first of the kind of judgement by court involving khap panchayats," he added.
The prosecution lawyer Narayan Singh Chahar said that the verdict was a warning to the khap panchayats
"Khap panchayats should change the way they work after seeing this judgement. The leader (Ganga Ram) got away with death penalty because he intentionally disappeared during the killing," he said.
Manoj, 23, had married Babli, 19 from village Karora, against the wishes of her family. They lived in Karnal town and were murdered in June 2007 after village elders accused the couple of violating the code of conduct related to marriage.