A young female journalist may have been murdered by her family because she intended to marry someone from a lower caste.

The mother of young Indian journalist Nirupama Pathak has been arrested on suspicion of smothering her daughter to death. The boyfriend of the deceased claimed that the 22-year old was killed because of her family’s opposition to their inter-caste relationship.

Nirupama Pathak, who was of the Brahmin caste, was found dead in her home in the state of Jharkhand on 29 April. Initially, her mother claimed that her daughter had been electrocuted, but later said that she had hung herself. Police investigators suspect that an ‘honour killing’ may have taken place and have arrested the mother. Pathak’s father said that his daughter committed suicide because she was pregnant.

Pathak’s boyfriend, Priyabhansu Ranjan, who was her classmate at journalism school, is of a lower caste than she was. He claimed that her family was against their relationship because of this and had refused to give their consent to their impending marriage.

Some activists claim that honour killings are on the rise in India. Sudha Sundaraman, of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, told the Reuters News Agency that such killings are “much more common than one would suspect”, but that parents often succeed in covering them up.

Despite modernisation, urbanisation and economic growth, the caste system continues to permeate Indian society. The main victims of caste discrimination are the country’s estimated 200 million Dalits, formerly know as ‘untouchables’.

Read the Reuters news report here

Click here for a Times of India article

Why are honour killings rising in India? (Time Magazine)