Woman Who Eloped 8 Years Ago Burned Alive in 'Honor Killing'

30-year-old in India punished, apparently by her own family members
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2016 8:47 AM CST
Woman Who Eloped 8 Years Ago Burned Alive in 'Honor Killing'
An activist from a non-governmental organization participates in a sit-in demonstration against honor killings in Delhi and other parts of the country in New Delhi, India, in 2010.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Seven people have been arrested and police are investigating dozens more after a woman in India was burned alive, apparently in retaliation for ditching an arranged marriage and eloping eight years ago, the Times of India reports. Rama Kunwar, 30, who has a 3-year-old daughter with the man she ran off with, had apparently hoped that her family had forgiven her for the unsanctioned marriage and returned to visit her in-laws in Dungarpur—but her brothers were said to have caught wind she was in town, burst into her in-laws' home, and dragged her into the street, where they proceeded to pour gas on her and set her ablaze in front of frightened villagers, a local official tells AFP. "She cried for help, but no one came to rescue her," he says.

The official adds that the suspects immediately set up a funeral pyre to get rid of evidence, but Kunwar's mother-in-law reportedly called the cops, who came to put out the fire and salvage some clues. Police arrested one of Kunwar's brothers and six other suspects (AFP suggests some of her cousins may have been involved), while "a case has been lodged against 35 more persons," a police rep tells the Times. Honor killings are a long-held tradition in India, especially in rural areas, carried out by relatives or village elders when families feel their standing in the country's caste system has been insulted or threatened. The government has been trying to fight the custom, with India's Supreme Court ruling in 2011 that those convicted of honor killings should get the death penalty. (A woman in Turkey switched things around in her "honor killing.")

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