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Indian woman and baby burned alive for dowry, police say

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 4:49 AM EST, Mon February 3, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police: 22-year-old Annu Devi and her baby were doused in kerosene
  • Devi's husband and parents-in-law are in jail awaiting trial
  • Dowry is banned in India
  • But India had over 8,200 dowry-related deaths in 2012, crime records show

New Delhi (CNN) -- Police in eastern India have arrested the husband and parents-in-law of a young woman for allegedly burning her and her baby girl alive.

The primary motive behind the January 30 attack is suspected to be dowry-related, as alleged by the parents of the dead woman, Jharkhand state police superintendent N.K. Mishra said.

The three suspects poured kerosene on Annu Devi, 22, and the baby girl at their village home in the state's Dumka district and set them on fire, Mishra said.

The 1-year-old child died instantly, and the mother later succumbed to her injuries in a hospital, police said.

A court has sent the three suspects to jail to await trial, Mishra told CNN.

Asked whether the fact that Devi gave birth to a girl was also a motive, Mishra said: "That could be a factor. But it was mainly for dowry. Her family has said in their complaint she was harassed for money and other things."

Devi married three years ago, Mishra said.

Dowry is banned in India, but giving expensive "gifts" to the grooms and their relatives at weddings hosted by the brides' families remains a common practice in the country.

Police across India registered 8,233 murders of women as dowry deaths in 2012, according to national crime data.

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