Indian mother kills herself after caste discrimination

NEW DELHI:A mother hanged herself in India after a council of elders punished her family for her suspected extra-marital romance with a lower-caste man, a local police officer said on Wednesday.

The mother-of-four killed herself on Monday as dozens of villagers gathered outside her house in central Madhya Pradesh state for a party the council had ordered her family to host as a punishment for the relationship.

The council, comprising members of the woman’s caste, found her “guilty “last month of having a relationship with a man from the lowest Dalit caste, previously known as untouchables, in India’s deeply entrenched social hierarchical system.

As well as hosting the drinking party in Tikamgarh district, the 25-year-old was also fined 5,000 rupees ($74) and ordered to attend a local temple to atone for her “sins”, local police officer Maduresh Pacharui said.

The council, or “panchayat”, had earlier sanctioned a social boycott of the family but changed the penalty after the woman’s family pleaded before the village elders, Pacharui said.

“It seems she was depressed with the events and over her alleged affair with her husband’s co-worker, who is a Dalit. We are investigating the panchayat’s role,” he said.

Nobody has been arrested over her death so far, he said.