A young Indian mother has been burned to death along with her infant daughter by her husband and in-laws for failing to pay dowry.
Police in eastern Indian state of Jharkhand said 22-year-old Annu Devi was set ablaze while she was breastfeeding her daughter.
They have now arrested her husband, Gunjan Masat, who allegedly poured fuel over Devi and her baby daughter before setting them on fire.
According to Raghuni Rana, Devi’s father, the couple were happily married for more than a year, but problems started after Ms Devi gave birth to a baby girl.
Mr Rana told police: ‘They wanted a son, but didn’t realize that giving birth to a girl was not Devi’s fault.
‘They started harassing and torturing her till things reached this pass when they decided to end her life.’
Mr Rana added: ‘Now they were demanding a TV set and a motorcycle. I had already given them two bighas (1.6 acres) of land in dowry.’
To pass off her murder as an accident, the accused made the badly burned Devi sit beside a fireplace and placed a water container over it.
Early in the morning on January 30, a local spotted Ms Devi and her daughter lying in a courtyard at the house, still alive despite suffering 90 per cent burns.
The mother-daughter duo were rushed to the nearest hospital but the doctors declared them dead on arrival.
Devi’s brother-in-law, who has also been accused in the police complaint, is still at large.
Calling it a heinous crime, Superintendent of Police, Nirmal Kumar Mishra, said: ‘All the accused will be arrested and prosecuted according to the law.’
Dowry is one of the reasons why boys are preferred over girls in Indian culture. Thousands of girls are aborted every year after ultrasound scans reveal the sex of the foetus.
A woman is killed over dowry‘every hour’ in India, according to the data released by the country’s National Crime Records Bureau.
‘8,233 young women, many of them new brides, were killed in so-called ‘dowry deaths’ in 2012,’ the report said last year.
Domestic violence largely motivated by dowry demands is very common in the area, but killing of Ms Devi along with her baby girl has shocked the locals.