Prominent Dalit rights activists in Telangana have said the murders of those who marry outside their caste should not be described as “honour killings”, The Indian Express reported on Friday. Writer and activist Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, who referred to the problem as “caste extremism” earlier this week, has now suggested the phrase “caste hatred killings”.

“Where is the honour in killing someone?” Shepherd was quoted as saying. “Why are caste-based murders being labelled as honour killings? Dalits are being killed for their caste, so these are caste hatred killings and they should be called that.”

Shepherd said caste-based discrimination and killings should discussed during election campaign in Telangana, which will go to the polls later this year.

On September 14, Perumalla Pranay, a Dalit man, was hacked to death in Nalgonda in front of his pregnant wife Amrutha, who belongs to an upper-caste family. The couple had eloped and got married in January. Five days later, another newly married couple was attacked, allegedly by the woman’s father, in Hyderabad. Madhavi, who is from an upper-caste family, had married Sandeep a week ago against her family’s wishes. She is in hospital.

The fathers of both the women have been arrested.

“Caste feeling among the upper castes is rising and becoming extreme,” S Venkatesh Naik of the Bahujan Left Front said during a protest outside Pranay’s house. “A lower-caste man marrying an upper-caste woman is seen as a crime punishable by death and upper-caste communities not only support the killing of the lower-caste man for so-called honour but also condone and justify it. There can be no honour in killing a human being. They kill because they hate the lower castes.”

Shepherd also visited Pranay’s house on Thursday. “Like Malala fought against Taliban terrorism, Amrutha too is fighting against caste extremism,” he had said on Tuesday, according to The News Minute.