Jassbir & Sunita
The accused : Sunita’s father Omprakash and her brother.
Place of Murder : Balla village in Karnal district.
Date of Murder : 26th May 2008.
Sunita and Jassbir were childhood sweethearts from the conservative region of Haryana in Northern India, just a few hours drive from Delhi. Several obstacles fell in the way of their relationship. Firstly, they were from the same village and for the inhabitants of Balla this was deeply frowned upon. In the eyes of the village, despite not being related at all, the affair was tantamount to incest. The pair were also from different castes, meaning that her family disapproved all the more of their budding relationship.
Despite all this, Jassbir’s sister reported that the pair were very much in love right up until the end. They had met at school, and even after Jassbir left to become a photographer’s assistant he would wait at the school gates to meet Sunita when she left school for the day. Sunita’s family eventually married her off (against her will) but the pair continued to meet, a year into the marriage Sunita left her husband to be with Jassbir properly. Sheltering at his sister’s house they started living together, at the time of their murder Sunita was pregnant with his child.
However the relationship was deeply disapproved of in the village. Sunita’s family found themselves increasingly ostracised by other people in the area. Her mother Roshni bemoaned that their relationship had left other villagers refusing to even drink water in their house.
In May 2008, after learning of Sunita’s pregnancy her family acted. Bursting in on the couple as the pregnant Sunita was drying her face, her father, uncle and two of her cousins dragged the pair into separate vehicles before strangling them in nearby fields. After the murders, Sunita’s father displayed their corpses outside his home to demonstrate that he had regained his ‘honour’.
He later handed himself into the police station, expressing no remorse for the murders. Indeed it is understood that he was decidedly self-assured, believing that the community would back him up in his actions. The family refused to mourn Sunita’s death, and failed to attend her cremation. Jassbir’s family however met with their son’s murder with grief but despite having just lost their sole breadwinner were pressurised to drop any charges against the murderers of their son.