India police say 2 brothers behead sister for alleged affair

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Two brothers in northern India beheaded their teenage sister and carried her head through their village because they disapproved of her romantic relationship with a cousin, police said Wednesday.

At least a dozen people watched as 17-year-old Phool Jehan was dragged out of her house, beaten and beheaded by her brothers late Monday, but they did not inform the police, officer Rajesh Singh said. The crime was reported by a local security guard.

Police have been unable to find the two brothers. Their ages were not clear, but they were both older than their sister.

After beheading Jehan, Nanhe and Gul Hasan left their sister's body in the street and roamed around the village with her head, shouting that they were against the relationship, Singh said.

Honor killings are common across India, but such brutal slayings are extremely rare.

As India modernizes rapidly, it finds itself in the midst of huge social turmoil as young people challenge accepted social norms. As more people attempt to break from tradition, they face backlash, often violent, especially in rural areas.

India also is considered one of the harshest places in the world for women, with female infanticide and child marriage still common.

The United Nations' gender inequality index places India next to last, above only Saudi Arabia, based on labor, reproductive health, education and politics. The index does not consider issues of violence.

While the brothers are on the run, police have detained Jehan's cousin to question him, said B. Kumar, another police officer.