Patna: A teenager and her boyfriend were allegedly beaten to death and then burnt on the same pyre for daring to fall in love in India’s Bihar state.

Women outnumbered the men in the group that meted out mob justice to the couple. The victims were from the Dalit class.

The incident took place in Ametha village in southern Bihar’s Gaya district on Wednesday, sending shock waves in the area. Police have registered a case against 15 people, with most of them absconding after the incident.

Police said 25-year-old Jaiyram Manjhi, a father of three children, had fallen in love with a 16-year-old Parvati Kumari, his relative, a relationship which was opposed by the girl’s family.

Manjhi eloped with the girl a few days ago, setting off the chain of events.

Extensive searches were first made for the absconding pair but their families failed to locate them.

Manjhi hailed from Kasiadih village whereas Kumari was from close-by Ametha.

On Wednesday, they were seen near a local railway station while trying to flee the area and brought back to Ametha village. Subsequently, a local village court tried to strike a compromise between the two parties but the girl’s family members refused to agree to it.

Witnesses said at the behest of the girl’s family, the two were brutally assaulted to death and then burnt on the same funeral pyre outside the village.

“This is a clear case of honour killing. We have registered a case against 15 persons wherein the members from the girl family have been named [among the] accused,” the local Gaya district senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj told the media on Thursday.

He said the police have arrested person in this connection whereas raids were on to nab the remaining absconding accused.

The police official said the arrested accused, Baby Devi, aunt of the deceased girl, has confessed her involvement in the lynching. “Girl’ very own family members killed them. They said their action has brought disgrace to the society …. we too agreed with their decision to eliminate the pair,” Devi told the police during her interrogation.

Youth’s wife Sharda Devi, however, said her husband was innocent and was killed for no fault of his. “My husband told me over phone that he was at the residence of a relative with the girl and would be returning on Wednesday. He had also informed the girl family about this but soon I came to now that both had been and cremated,” she told the police.