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Two Children Orphaned After Couple Stoned To Death

An Indian couple was stoned to death for marrying outside their castes, leaving their two children orphaned.

The couple had arrived to visit the woman's family in Karnataka in southwest India last month, police said.

In the suspected 'honour killing', the 29-year-old couple were allegedly murdered in a village in Lakkalakatti on Wednesday.

Police said the couple were brutally attacked after being spotted on a road.

According to the UN, 1,000 honour killings occur in India every year. Image: Getty

"They were spotted by villagers on Wednesday, who informed the brother of the woman after which he gathered a mob that attacked the couple and killed them with stones," local police officer Guru Shanth told AFP.

The woman fled her village three years ago, fearing punishment for marrying a Dalit man - India's lowest social group, who are also known as the 'Untouchables'.

The couple had moved several times for their personal security and worked as labourers.

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India has seen a spike in honour killings, which are undertaken to 'protect' a family's integrity and image.

According to India's National Crime Records Bureau there were 69 honour killings in India in 2016, which is the most recent data available.

The United Nations reported that of the 5,000 honour killings that occur worldwide each year, 1,000 occur in India alone.

Vigils were held throughout India earlier this year after photos of a mutilated teenage girl were shared across social media.

India banned discrimination on the basis of the caste system in 1948 but prejudice persists. Image: Getty

The 16-year-old girl was viciously murdered by her own family in Bihar for attempting to elope with a boy, police reported.

Police rebuffed the family's claims that the girl had been raped and murdered and said the family were responsible for the brutal killing.

They said a butcher friend had helped the family to carry out the grisly murder after the teenager fled her home and returned three days later.

Police said the family acted in a suspicious manner, avoiding interrogation, leading them to pinpoint them as prime suspects.

Contact Eden on Twitter @edengillespie