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Charred bodies of couple found in UP district, suicide suspected

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Sonbhadra, March 3 (IANS) The charred bodies of a couple, who had eloped in 2022 to get married, were found in a forest area in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district.The bodies were found on Saturday. The police suspect that the couple — Pankaj Chauhan, 25, and Bandani Chauhan, 20, — committed suicide.Additional Superintendent of Police Tribhuvan Nath Tripathi said police recovered items near the bodies that suggested the duo might have consumed poison before setting themselves on fire. What prompted them to take the extreme step is being investigated.The incident came to light when residents of Sirsiya Thakurai village spotted smoke billowing from nearby Thakurai jungle late in the afternoon.They rushed to the spot and alerted the police on seeing the bodies.Initial investigation led to the identification of the deceased as Pankaj and Bandani. Items found near their bodies included a petrol container, poison, a matchbox and a blanket, suggesting that the couple entered the jungle with the intention of ending their lives.Probe revealed the couple had been in a relationship for several years and desired to get married, but their families opposed the union.Pankaj was booked under the POCSO Act on charges of kidnapping and rape after he eloped with Bandani, who was a minor then.He was arrested and after his release on bail, the couple reconnected.–IANSamita/dpb

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