Andhra woman accuses husband of killing their baby, says he resented her skin colour

The mother Sravani said her husband Mahesh had tried to kill their child before, and that her in-laws were spiteful towards the child, one of the reasons being her skin colour.
Mannem Sravani
Mannem SravaniYouTube/ETV Andhra Pradesh
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A few days after the sudden death of a one-and-a-half-year-old baby in Andhra Pradesh, her mother has accused the father of killing her. Mannem Sravani (21), the child’s mother, said that her husband Mahesh and in-laws have been spiteful towards her daughter since her birth, and that they resented her for her skin colour and her sex. Sravani also alleged that Mahesh tried to kill their daughter twice in the past. She alleged that Mahesh forced her to lie to her family about the cause of the girl’s death, and that he completed the last rites in a hurry. 

The baby died in her house in Karempudi taluk of Palnadu district in the early hours of March 31. Three days later, on April 3, Sravani lodged a complaint with the Karempudi police. The body was then exhumed and sent for a postmortem. 

In her complaint, Sravani said that on the evening of March 30, her daughter ate some prasadam, the food offered at a temple, which Mahesh had brought home. After eating the pulihora and payasam, she and her daughter fell asleep around 11 pm. Around 5 am the next day, Sravani said she woke up to find the baby lying in bed, motionless. After rushing her to a private hospital in Karempudi, the doctors declared her brought dead, Sravani said. She later grew suspicious of the cause of her death. Based on her complaint, police have registered a case of unnatural death under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). 

Sravani told ETV Andhra Pradesh that before sleeping, her daughter had played for a while after eating the prasadam on March 30. She said the child was found unconscious the next morning and that she woke her husband, who informed his parents. “They [the family] did not even touch her. I held her on the way to the hospital. The doctors said she has been dead for three hours, and asked if I had not been giving her milk regularly,” she said, adding that she had been advised against breast-feeding in recent months due to a thyroid disease. 

Sravani alleged that her husband threatened to kill her if she did not lie to her family that the baby died due to a seizure. He also made sure the funeral was completed in a hurry, she said. “From the day she was born, my husband and in-laws disliked her. They have never shown her any affection, never held her close or fed her,” she said. 

Karempudi police said that they are considering Mahesh a suspect based on Sravani’s complaint, but are still probing the case and are awaiting the postmortem report. “The mother has mentioned that her husband and in-laws never liked the child because she was a dark-skinned girl child. We are yet to invoke charges against Mahesh,” Karempudi Sub-Inspector of Police Ramanjaneyulu. 

The Andhra Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), meanwhile, has also initiated a probe. SCPCR member Bathula Padmavathi said that the mother informed them that Mahesh has allegedly tried to kill their daughter before. “We are waiting for reports from the police, child welfare, and revenue department officers who are all looking into the case,” Padmavathi said.

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