A teenage girl named Neha was beaten to death and hanged from a bridge by relatives for wearing jeans during a religious ritual in India, it has been alleged.
Neha Paswan, 17, was savagely thrashed with sticks by her grandfather and uncles after she defended her choice of outfit, according to her grieving mother, Shakuntala Devi Paswan.
Ms Paswan claims her in-laws pretended to take Neha to hospital after she fell unconscious, but instead took the girl to a nearby river and hanged her there.
Local police plan to charge 10 people with murder and destruction of evidence.
They reportedly include Neha’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and a rickshaw driver who helped them drive her away from the scene of the beating.
The grandparents, one uncle and the driver have been arrested and the rest are being hunted.
Neha’s mum told the BBC: ‘She had kept a day-long religious fast. In the evening, she put on a pair of jeans and a top and performed her rituals.
‘When her grandparents objected to her attire, Neha retorted that jeans were made to be worn and that she would wear it.’
The argument boiled over into violence, after which the grandparents called an autorickshaw and claimed they were taking her to hospital, the mother claims.
She added: ‘They wouldn’t let me accompany them so I alerted my relatives who went to the district hospital looking for her but couldn’t find her.’
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The following morning, she heard a girl’s body was hanging from a bridge over the local river, and was horrified to discover it was her daughter’s.
Ms Paswan said her in-laws had been pressuring Neha to leave school and regularly berated her for wearing western clothing.
Campaigners in India have warned against unchecked violence against women and girls by their relatives, particularly in rural areas.
Last month, a 20-year-old woman in the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh was beaten by her father and male cousins for trying to escape her ‘abusive’ marital home, according to police.