A 38-year-old woman, Jayalakshmi, a resident of Thiruvottiyur has been arrested for allegedly setting her 10-year-old daughter ablaze on January 30 night after her third husband forced her to do to prove her modesty. The child after suffering from 75 per cent burns, died on January 31 morning. Along with Jayalakshmi, husband Padmanabhan has been picked up by the police, and the duo was sent to prison by a local court.
According to police, at the age of 19, Jayalakshmi married a man named Palvannan and gave birth to a girl who is currently pursuing nursing by staying at her grandmother’s house in Thoothukudi. After a few years, Jayalakshmi left Palvannan and married Palvannan’s younger brother named Durairaj. Later, the duo went to Mumbai while she gave birth to a girl, Pavithra. After leaving Durairaj, Jayalakshmi returned to Chennai a decade back with her daughter Pavithra and settled in the Thiruvottiyur area where she developed a ‘friendship’ with a truck driver named Padmanabhan, who is a divorcee.
Meanwhile, Padmanabhan and Jayalakshmi married in 2013 and had two children of four and six years.
As years passed, Padmanabhan often held quarrel with Jayalakshmi, after boozing every day, suspecting her modesty, the officer said. On January 30 night, he fought with Jayalakshmi and dared her to burn her daughter Pavithra, saying the fire would leave the girl uninjured if the woman was faithful. Immediately, Jayalakshmi went to the room where Pavithra was sleeping with her stepsisters. She dragged Pavithra out of the room and drenched her with kerosene and had set ablaze on her.
Upon hearing the child’s scream, the neighbours rushed to Jayalakshmi’s house, wrapped the girl Pavithra with a thick cloth and took her to KMCH for treatment, where she died by suffering from 75 per cent of burns all over the body.