CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Kausalya and her husband of eight months were shown no mercy when they were attacked by a group of men armed with knives and sickles in a crowded market in the southern Indian town of Udumalpet last year for daring to marry out of caste.
Kausalya, now 20, was left bloodied and dazed by the attack captured on security cameras and viewed throughout India but her husband, Sankar, 22, died from his injuries, inflicted as he was a low-caste Dalit and had married a woman from a higher caste.
Two weeks ago, in front of television cameras, Kausalya voiced her relief that her testimony had helped bring death sentences against her father and five others who killed Sankar.
It was only the second instance of capital punishment awarded by a lower court in India for caste-based honor killings, which have risen sharply in the southern state over the past decade even as convictions remain rare, activists say.
“I gave testimony against my family because I don’t see them as family, but as criminals who had to be brought to justice,” said Kausalya, from the powerful Thevar community.
“I don’t want another Kausalya and Sankar to suffer the way we did,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.