A 21-year-old pregnant woman was allegedly murdered by her family members for having married a boy outside her community. The police said it is a case of “honour killing.”

The gruesome killing at Om Sakthi nagar here came to light on Sunday when the district police launched an investigation of the whereabouts of the woman on the orders of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on a habeas corpus petition filed by her husband R. Suresh Kumar (24)

The court directed the police on March 21 to produce the woman (five months pregnant) before the court, but investigation by the police revealed that the girl was done to death by her family members — her mother, brother and three maternal uncles — on the night of March 17 itself.

On Sunday, the police exhumed the decomposed body found buried on the Vaigai riverbed at Kuyavankudi near here and arrested R.Venkateswari (41) and R.Vimal Raj (21), mother and brother of the deceased and two of her maternal uncles Janakiraman (37) and Bagyaraj (35) on charges of murder, after registering a case.

“It’s a clear case of honour killing,” Superintendent of Police N. M. Mylvahanan told The Hindu.

The family members hatched the conspiracy and engaged the anti-social elements to execute the murder, the SP said, adding Azhagarsamy, another maternal uncle of the woman, was absconding.

The woman’s family, which objected to her marriage with Suresh Kumar belonging to another community, lured her to return home for a patch-up after the couple had gone to Nedukandam in Kerala in September last, fearing threat to their lives.

Suresh said he had handed over his wife to her mother Venkateswari at Veerapandi temple in Theni on March 16.

She took her daughter home, stating that she would send her back after two days.

The woman’s two aunts were also present at the temple, he said.

He was in regular touch with his wife, but her mobile was switched off after he last spoke to her at 9. 30 pm on March 17. As he feared danger to his wife’s life, he moved the court on March 20, little realising that she was done to death on the night of March 17 itself.

Her maternal uncles had ransacked his room in Madurai and destroyed all his certificates, Suresh alleged.

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