The Indian caste system is known to cause violence in India, but a multiple murder case near Chicago has raised the specter of such violence in the United States. Prosecutors say Subhash Chander, an immigrant from India, used gasoline to burn alive his pregnant daughter, son-in-law and their child because he believed that his daughter married beneath her class.
The family deny that the caste system was behind the murders. However, the father’s account has been reportedly discredited that the fire was some type of accident.
“His son-in-law was beneath him, in his opinion,” prosecutor Robert Milan said of the 57-year-old Chander.
He was jailed without bail on charges of murder, arson and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the deaths of 22-year-old Monika Rani, her 36-year-old husband, Rajesh Kumar, and their son, Vansh.
The role of the caste system could prove a divisive trial issue. It is the type of motivation that is likely to infuriate an American jury and prejudice them against the defendant. However, there may be sufficient prior statements to allow the introduction of the motivational evidence. For that reason, a plea may be a more likely course for the defendant.