Thursday, January 3, 2008

Property Damage

MARKHAM, Illinois (AP) -- A suburban Chicago man is accused of setting an apartment fire -- killing his pregnant daughter, her husband and their young child -- because the son-in-law didn't ask permission for the marriage, prosecutors said. (Emphasis added)

According to the Associated Press, on Tuesday, Subhash Chander was held without bond on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated arson. Chander (a native of India) told police that the gasoline spilled during an argument with his son-in-law. He also stated that he ignited the gas with a lighter because he was angry and that he disliked his son-in-law because he belonged to a lower caste and had married his daughter without his consent. Prosecutors dispute the claim that the gasoline could have spilled during an argument, citing the fact that all other tenants of the 36-unit apartment complex were able to escape and therefore the victims must have been sleeping.

Though the violence was committed by a parent and not a romantic partner, the same mindset is evident in this case that is seen in many incidents of domestic violence: the perpetrator would rather kill his daughter and her whole family than relinquish his control over her. In his mind, she was merely property to be passed from one man to another, but only to a man of whom the father approved. Because his son-in-law did not ask his permission for marriage, instead trusting that his wife could make decisions for herself regardless of paternal permission, the father was willing to burn the entire family alive.

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