Roop Kanwar

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Roopkuvarba Kanwar
Bornc. 1969
Died4 September 1987 (aged 18)
Known forBurning alive
Spouse(s)Maal Singh

Roopkuvarba Kanwar (c. 1969 – 4 September 1987) was a Rajput woman who was burned alive at Deorala village of Sikar district in Rajasthan, India. At the time, she was 18 years old and had been married for eight months to Maal Singh Shekhawat, who had died a day earlier at age 24,[1] and had no children.


Several thousand people attended. After her death, Roop Kanwar was hailed as a sati mata – a sati mother, or pure mother. The event quickly produced a public outcry in urban centres. The incident led first to state level laws to prevent such incidents, then the central government's Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act.[2]

News reports[edit]

News reports of the incident present conflicting stories. Some news reports claim Kanwar was forced to her death by other attendees present.[1] Some reports state that Roop was told she must do Sati to bring honor to the family, and she ran away and hid in a barn, but was found and beaten, drugged. Her male in-laws half dragged her towards the funeral pyre and eye-witnesses testified that she was heavily bruised and bleeding and frothing from the mouth. These witnesses said she was thrown on her husband's dead body and heavy logs placed on her such that she could not move and the funeral pyre was lit.[3]


The original inquiries resulted in 45 people being charged with her murder; these people were acquitted. A much-publicized later investigation led to the arrest of a large number of people from Deorala, said to have been present in the ceremony, or participants in it.

Eventually, 11 people, including state politicians, were charged with glorification of sati. On 31 January 2004 a special court in Jaipur acquitted all of the 11 accused in the case.[4]


  1. ^ a b "The New York Times, 1987". 20 September 1987. Retrieved 31 May 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987". Archived from the original on 21 November 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Hinduism Today, 1987". Retrieved 9 July 2007. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Frontline, 2004". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Further reading[edit]