Monday, October 15, 2012

Dad, grandfather severely burn 13-month-old daughter, murder mother (Delhi, India)

Dad is identified as ASHUTOSH GUPTA.

Indian baby suffers horrendous burns in shocking dowry dispute

An Indian woman died and her infant suffered severe burns after her husband and father-in-law set them on fire over a dowry dispute. More than 8,000 women are murdered every year when dowry demands are not met.

Monday Oct 15, 2012

An Indian woman has died and her 13-month-old daughter suffered horrendous burns after her husband and father-in-law set them on fire as they slept, in a dispute over a dowry payment.

The case has shocked India, a country where people have become use to reports of bride burnings and dowry murders - there are more than 8,000 women killed every year because their husbands' and in-laws' demands for lavish dowry payments are not met.

What is particularly alarming is the attempted murder of a daughter and grand-daughter whose first birthday they had celebrated just weeks earlier.

In Delhi's Safdarjung hospital, 13-month-old Idika's eyes peer fearfully out from her heavily bandaged face as she fights for her life, after suffering 55 per cent burns.

Her mother Pravartika Gupta, a 25 year-old technology graduate, died in the hospital on Sunday shortly after making a statement to a magistrate.

She told the magistrate that as they were sleeping in their room on October 6, a fire broke out just in front of their bedroom door and noone came to their rescue.

Her father-in-law suffered minor burns in the fire, but ran away from the hospital before police could arrest him. Both he and Pravartika's husband are now on the run after police said they would be charged with murder, attempted murder and making illegal dowry demands.

Her uncles claimed Idika's father Ashutosh Gupta, a media event planner, and his father, a local government engineer, had been angry with Pravartika not only because their dowry demands had not been met, but also because they had wanted their first child to be a son.

Idika's uncles kept a vigil outside the hospital last night as nurses treated her in an intensive care burns unit where she is being kept heavily swaddled in bandages and cooling gels inside a protective tube.

Her uncle Rajesh Gupta said Pravartika had married Ashutosh Gupta in 2010 after the families had agreed a dowry payment of 1,200,000 Rupees and a Honda City car to the groom's parents.

They had spent 1,200,000 Rupees on the wedding ceremonies, had paid 1,000,000 rupees in cash and were about to pay the remaining balance when the in-laws demanded a new apartment too. "They said they had given a flat to their daughter's in-laws in dowry and we should do the same. They are economically well-off but greedy," he said.

"We bought gold and clothes for them on the baby's first birthday but they were not satisfied. A flat would cost between 30 lakhs rupees and a crore. They said you got our royal family, you are not as good as we are. You must be proud to be our relatives and you must pay."

Women's rights campaigners said the attack on a baby girl as well as a mother was "extreme" even in a country where people have become "desensititized" because of the high number of dowry deaths.

"They were going to kill the mother and they didn't want the daughter. Then the man will marry again and get another dowry. With a child, someone has to look after it, and no-one wants the responsibility of a girl if it had a boy this would not have happened. It is appalling," said Ranjana Kumari of the Council for Social Research. Outside the hospital, Idika's shocked surviving relatives were trying to grasp how such barbarity could have been committed for money. "Why did he do this? He had everything, a beautiful wife, a beautiful girl, a prosperous house. What was in his mind we don't understand," said Rajesh Gupta.