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Mon Aug 19, 2019, 09:59 PM

A young Indian couple married for love. Then the bride's father hired assassins.

Source: Washington Post

A young Indian couple married for love. Then the bride’s father hired assassins.

By Joanna Slater August 19 at 2:08 PM

MIRYALAGUDA, India — They were young, glamorous and dreamily in love.

Pranay Perumalla strode into the wedding hall in a midnight blue suit, his face lit by a grin as he clasped the hand of his bride, Amrutha Varshini. The couple draped huge garlands of flowers around one another’s necks and relatives threw grains of yellow rice that caught in their dark hair.

But even as they celebrated, they were already in danger.

One bright afternoon less than a month later, the couple left a doctor’s appointment in the small southern Indian city where they grew up. A man came up behind them carrying a large butcher knife in his right hand. He hacked Pranay twice on the head and neck, killing him instantly.

Pranay, 23, was a Dalit, a term used to describe those formerly known as “untouchables.” Amrutha, 21, belongs to an upper caste. Her rich and powerful family viewed the couple’s union as an unacceptable humiliation. Her father, T. Maruthi Rao, was so enraged that he hired killers to murder his son-in-law, court documents say.

While Indian society is changing, it is not shifting rapidly enough for couples like Amrutha and Pranay, whose marriage defied an age-old system of discrimination and hierarchy. Even as India has lifted millions out of poverty, increased education rates and built one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the influence of caste — a social order rooted in Hindu scriptures and based on an identity determined at birth — remains pervasive.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/a-young-indian-couple-married-for-love-then-the-brides-father-hired-assassins/2019/08/19/3d1ce9a0-a1d0-11e9-a767-d7ab84aef3e9_story.html

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