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Decision on Vani Gopal Sharma Haryana judge's transfer likely Monday

Karnal (Haryana): Additional district and sessions judge Vani Gopal Sharma, who gave the first landmark ruling on Haryana's khap panchayats in which she sentenced five men to death, has sought transfer from this district and a decision on her request will be taken on or after Monday.

"Sensing some trouble and threat, Sharma has sought her transfer to Panchkula (a district neighbouring state capital Chandigarh) but the final decision on her appeal will be taken on or after April 19. She has also informed the chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court about this," a well-placed source in the Haryana judiciary told IANS here Saturday.

Five men, who had brutally killed a young couple three years ago for marrying against the community's wishes, were sentenced to death by the judge March 30.

However, immediately after announcing the verdict Sharma had approached administrative judge of Karnal sessions court and told him that she was not provided with foolproof security cover.

Sharma's verdict of awarding capital punishment was severely condemned by various village khap panchayats (councils) and other sections of the society, apparently forcing the judge to seek transfer to a safer place.

The murdered couple, Manoj, 23, and Babli, 19, had married in 2007 against the wishes of their families.

Manoj, who ran an electronics repair shop at Kaithal, eloped with Babli, a resident of Karoran village, in May 2007. They were murdered the next month by some members of Babli's family.

Those sentenced to death included Suresh, the brother of Babli, Rajinder and Baru Ram (both uncles) and Gurdev and Satish (both cousins).

Khap panchayat leader Ganga Raj, who was also convicted for murder along with the other five, was given life imprisonment by the court. (IANS)

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