In an apparent incident of honour killing, a 25-year-old married man and a minor girl were badly beaten up and later burnt alive by the villagers on the orders of a panchayat in Bihar's Gaya district on Wednesday.
A case has been registered against 15 villagers, including eight women. The girl's aunt has been taken into custody, while the rest will be arrested soon, Gaya Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj told The Hindu.
"Prime facie it appears to be case of honor killing. A case has been lodged in this connection with the local police station of Wazirganj and the mortal remains of the bodies would be sent for forensic test," Maharaj said.
The man and the girl, believed to be in love with each other, were punished by the panchayat of Ametha village for alleged elopement. After burning them alive, the villagers buried their bodies outside the village.
The 16-year-old girl was a neighbour of the in-laws of the man, Jairam Manjhi, in Ametha village. Manjhi, who lived in a nearby village, Kasadih, would often visit his in-laws and it was during his visits that both had fallen in love with each other.
Apparently, they tried to flee on Wednesday but were caught by the girl's fellow villagers in neighbouring Paharpur village. They were then brought back and presented for a hearing before the village heads or panchayat, who ordered the villagers to punish the duo with death.
Manjhi was married to Shakuntala Devi of Ametha village and was a father of three children.