India arrests Belgian for 'honour killing'

1st July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Police in northern India said Thursday they had arrested a Belgian man of Indian origin for allegedly killing his teenage stepdaughter in another apparent "honour killing".

Mehtab Singh, 55, from Brussels, is accused of strangling 17-year-old Amritpal Kaur to death in Amritsar in northern Punjab state and then attempting to disguise the murder as a suicide.

"Kaur was strangled to death by the stepfather and hanged from the ceiling fan to show that she had committed suicide," senior police officer Varinder Kumar Sharma told AFP.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Singh disapproved of his stepdaughter's relationship with a lower caste Indian-origin Belgian boyfriend and had brought Kaur to India to get her married.

There have been a series of gruesome honour killings in India over the last month, highlighting the enduring grip of India's rigid caste system which has strict rules that govern marriage.

Several recent cases in New Delhi have been particularly shocking, given that most "honour killings" occur in less developed rural areas of northern states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Times of India newspaper said Thursday that 19 cases of honour killings have been reported in the last three months in northern India.

© 2010 AFP

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