A teenage girl and her Dalit boyfriend have been brutally murdered in a suspected ‘honour killing’ in Delhi. Such crimes are relatively rare in the Indian capital.

The father and uncle of a Delhi teenager have been arrested in connection with a gruesome case of ‘honour killing’. 19-year old Aisha Saini and her Dalit boyfriend, Yogesh Kumar, were tied up, beaten and electrocuted earlier this week. Her uncle has already confessed to the murders.

The mutilated bodies of the inter-caste couple were found early on 14 June in the house of Omprakash Saini, Aisha’s uncle. According to media reports, her family opposed her relationship with Yogesh Kumar because he was a Dalit. He was called to their house on 13 June, and the young couple were tortured for hours before being killed.

Neighbours later told the BBC and other media that they had heard loud cries from the house, and one neighbour had even tried to intervene and had witnessed Aisha Saini’s parents, uncle, aunt and cousin beating the couple. He was told that it was an “internal family matter” and had been warned against contacting the police.

After being arrested, Omprakash Saini was unrepentant. According to the BBC, he told reporters that he “would punish them again if given a chance.” Another uncle, Titoo Saini, said that “honour in our community and society is paramount to us” and claimed that he would have done the same in his relatives’ place.

So-called ‘honour killings’ happen rarely in the Indian capital. In the countryside, they are more common, but according to the police, the neighbourhood is populated by migrants from rural areas.

“People here are deeply rooted in their traditional beliefs. Caste considerations hold much sway,” Assistant Police Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Singh told the BBC. He added that many cases of ‘honour killings’ are not reported.

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