A woman in the Indian city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat state died of severe burns last month, having doused herself and her two young sons with kerosene and them alight.
Neha Chaturvedi, 28, died at the scene, while the two boys aged 3 and 5, died in hospital a short while after, having sustained serious injuries in the blaze.
Their father, succesful lawyer Satyadev Chaturvedi, was not at home at the time of the incident, which occurred on Saturday 29 September, in the family’s home in the affluent Sarkhej area of the city.
Mother Sets Children On Fire Following Fight About Vegetables
According to reports from the those close to the couple, the incident may have stemmed from ongoing acrimony between Neha Chaturvedi and her mother-in-law Saritaben.
The night before the murder-suicide the two women had argued over what vegetable should be served with dinner. Reportedly Neha’s husband had taken his mother’s side and had reprimanded Neha.
Neighbors also recall an earlier incident in which the deceased had fought bitterly with her mother-in-law over the older woman’s refusal to clean up tea she had spilled.
Police questioned Satyadev Chaturvedi in the wake of the murder-suicide, but a coroner’s court has since ruled that he was not complicit in his wife’s actions.
The tragedy has shocked all those who knew the family, who had been living in Sarkhej for some time and had never given any indication that anything was amiss.
Self-Immolation Survivor Charged In Similar Incident
This most recent murder-suicide by self-immolation recalls an earlier case from July this year, in which a 35-year-old woman drowned her two children in a water sump, before setting herself on fire in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In that instance the women survived, despite suffering over 90% burns, and has been charged with both the murders and with attempting suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which remained in effect at the time of the offense.
India World Number One For Female Suicides
India has the the highest rate of female suicides in the world, with Indian women and girls accounting for approximately two in five female suicide victims globally.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for young adults of both sexes in India, but in a reversal of the trends found in most western nations young women are more likely to die by suicide than men in the same age group.
Attempting suicide remained a criminal offense in India until July this year, following the passage of the 2017 Mental Healthcare Act.