"She always commented on my brother’s dark complexion"
Usually, it is common in parts of India that a wife having ‘dark skin’ will get taunted for it by in-laws, relatives, aunties and even the husband for her complexion. But when a wife sets her husband on fire for the same, it highlights serious issues in Indian society.
The obsession with skin colour in India and the bias towards fair skin is demonstrated by this horrific case. And by the looks of it, the British colonial mindset of fair being superior, engraved on Indians, is not fading at all.
Prem Shiri, a woman from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was upset with the dark skin complexion of her husband Satyaveer Singh.
After being married for over two years and having a five-month-old child with him, she allegedly poured petrol on him and set him alight in the early hours of Monday morning on April 15, 2019.
Satyaveer was sleeping at the time at their home in the city of Bareilly when the incident took place, which was pre-meditated and planned by his wife.
When neighbours heard screams from their residence they immediately arrived at the house and quickly doused the fire. Satyaveer was then quickly taken to a hospital by them.
Prem who is two years older than her husband Satyaveer also suffered burns on her legs from the blaze.
Police arrived at the residence and arrested Prem charging her for the crime.
Police Inspector Sehdev Singh from Kurh Fategarh police station said that initially the case was registered as an ‘attempt to murder’ under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, it was then changed to the crime of murder under IPC section 302.
The change to the charge sheet was made after Satyaveer sadly passed away later on the same day in hospital due to the extremity of the burns and injuries while receiving treatment.
Inspector Singh said:
“Hearing his screams, neighbours rushed to the spot and doused the fire.”
“They then took the couple to a nearby hospital.
“From there they were referred to a higher facility in Moradabad, where the husband succumbed to burns and the woman is undergoing treatment.”
In a statement, Harveer Singh the brother of Satyaveer said that his sister-in-law never really liked him because of his dark skin. Indicating, that it was possibly an arranged marriage.
Harveer told Times of India:
“She always commented on my brother’s dark complexion but we never thought that she would take such a step.”