A teenage Indian girl, Neha Paswan, 17, was reportedly beaten to death this week because her male relatives didn’t want her to wear jeans. Many of her family members have now been accused of murdering her over an attire-related argument.
The BBC spoke to Paswan’s mother, Shakuntala Devi Paswan, who said her daughter had put on a pair of jeans to perform religious rituals, sparking an argument in the family’s home in Savreji Kharg village in Uttar Pradesh.
Her family took issue with her jeans, which violated a local government ruling implemented in March – banning men from wearing shorts and women from wearing jeans and other emblems of ‘western culture’, restricting them to traditional clothes such as sarees.
When her grandparents objecting, Neha retorted that jeans were made to be worn, her mother explained. She went on to explain that her daughter was ‘severely beaten with sticks’ by male relatives, including the girl’s grandfather and uncles. Afterward, the men promised they would take her to the hospital and packed her into a rickshaw.
Shakuntala Devi said this was the last time she saw her daughter alive, sharing, ‘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’. She found her daughter’s body hanging over a bridge the following morning.
Shakuntala Devi added that her in-laws were often unhappy that the teen preferred to dress in modern clothing and were even pressuring her to drop out of school.
Local news outlet India Today shared that the grandfather has now been arrested and charged with murder, whilst two of her uncles, Vyas Paswan and Arvind Paswan, are on the run.
Regretfully, such killings aren’t exactly abnormal in certain regions of India. Just last March, an Indian man beheaded his 17-year-old daughter after he found her in a ‘compromising position’ with her boyfriend. He then carried her severed head to the village authorities, per Reuters.