A 20-year-old Indian woman has been killed by her parents for daring to love a man outside their community, the Times of India reported.
Sushma of Gollanabeedu village, 15 kilometres from Mysore district in the Indian state of Karnataka, was forced by her parents to consume orange juice laced with poison. They then cremated her body in secret the next day.
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Kumar Gowda, the girl's father, poured the lethal substance down her throat and watched her die. He later told police this was 'just punishment' for loving a man outside their community and being adamant about marrying him. For around six hours, the woman writhed in agony as the poison spread across her body.
The chilling crime was revealed as police took up suo motu investigation a week after Sushma's death. Rumours of an 'honour killing' circulated as the girl who was called to talk to the family on February 20.
Sushma's father has been detained for questioning. Police are still looking for her mother and uncle who helped Gowda kill her and destroy evidence. ASP N Rudramuni said Gowda, his wife Jayanthi and her brother Kempanna were opposed to Sushma's relationship with a Dalit youth, a painter from the neighbouring Alanahalli village.
Sushma was the eldest of three daughters and had dropped out of college. In December last year, Gowda, along with a few panchayat members, tried to dissuade Sushma. When they failed, he sent her to a relative's house in Hulikere in Mandya district.
Since then Gowda, a farmer, allegedly called his daughter home on three occasions to convince her to marry a man of the family's choice. Sushma spurned their proposals, leaving them livid. The family called her over a final time on February 20.
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"Involving her in a conversation, the girl's mother is said to have offered her orange juice laced with poison. Sushma took a few sips and stopped, saying the juice tasted strong. Seeing their ruse failing, Kumar, Jayanthi and Kempanna held her nostrils and forced the juice down her throat," ASP Rudramuni said.
"She was given the toxic juice at their farmhouse around 10.30pm. She died around 4am on February 21. Gowda said Sushma struggled for six hours, writhing in pain on the floor. After she died, her body was cremated at the farm around 5am," said ASP Rudramuni.
This article originally appeared in the Times of India.