Police in the state of Maharashtra have arrested a woman for allegedly poisoning food at a relative's feast that killed five people, including four children. The housewife was apparently angry at skin-color taunts.
Indian police said Saturday the 23-year-old housewife's intention was to kill her husband and in-laws, who, according to the woman, constantly taunted her for having dark skin and lacking cooking skills.
Pradnya Survase, a resident of Khalapur, close to Mumbai, confessed to mixing pesticide into the dal (a dish made of lentils) that was served at a relative's feast on June 18, the police said.
Four children, aged between 7 and 13, and a 53-year-old man, died after consuming the poisoned food. Two of them were Survase's relatives.
Several victims still remain in hospital. Survase has been charged with murder.
'Regular insults and taunts'
Vishwajeet Kaingade, a police official, told local media that Survase claimed she had been regularly insulted at home.
"She has named her mother in-law, Sindhu Survase; husband Suresh Govind Survase; sisters in-law Ujwala Pawar and Jyoti Ashok Kadam; her mother in-law's sister Sarita Mane and Sarita's husband, Subhash Mane; for the alleged torture," the Hindustan Times newspaper cited Kaingade as saying.
"The woman was married two years ago and said she was humiliated and victimized by her husband's family who often mocked her over her dark skin tone and lack of cooking skills," another police official, Sanja Patil, said Saturday.
"She admitted to the crime citing marital, family disputes [as reasons behind her action]. She held a grudge against them and she had an intention to kill her in-laws and other relatives by mixing pesticide in the food," Patil added.
Domestic violence is rife in India and other South Asian countries. Feminist activists also criticize India's unnecessary obsession with fair skin color and the media's depiction of dark-skinned women as "ugly."