03/05/2013 12:50 pm ET

Gurmej Singh Arrested: Indian Man Allegedly Murdered Pregnant Wife For Clipping His Nails Too Short

An Indian man has been arrested for allegedly murdering his wife because she clipped his nails too short.

According to the Press Trust of India, Gurmej Singh was taken into custody in Punjab's Jakopur village on Saturday after he set his wife on fire for accidentally cutting into his skin while clipping his fingernails. The woman had earlier called her brothers in nearby Amritsar saying she feared that she would be harmed.

"After she made the phone call, Gurmej abused and thrashed [the victim] and later sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire," Harpreet Singh, deputy superintendent of Jalandhar police, told PTI.

The Indian Express writes that the woman's brothers rushed to her house upon receiving the call, where they found her lying on a bed in semi-burnt condition. She was taken to the hospital and managed to give her statement to the police before she died from her injuries on Thursday.

The victim's brothers also told the Indian Express that the woman had been abused throughout her six-month marriage, as her husband routinely used violence in order to coerce additional dowry from her family.

According to the Times of India, systematic "bride burning" has been a rampant problem in India fueled by economic greed and material motivation.

The Times of India explains:

In a crime that is prevalent only in India, greedy husbands and his relatives harass the newly wed bride for getting more dowry, and often kill her in the process. And, very often, she is burnt alive. This horror is therefore called bride-burning or in official terms, dowry death.

Last January, the National Crime Records Bureau released statistics that shed light on the startling increase in dowry deaths in recent years, the Times of India noted at the time. According to the study, 8,391 dowry deaths were reported in 2010 -- a number significantly higher than the 6,995 reported just a decade earlier. The number translates to one bride burned every hour.



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