Man Kills Daughter-in-Law: A “Little Racism” Can Cost You Your Life

10 years ago

Last week, Chiman Rai, 68, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for arranging the murder of his daughter-in-law. The man, originally from India, felt that his son’s marriage to the African-American woman, who was 22 and had only been married for a month to Rai’s son, was a dishonor to his family:

Rai viewed the young woman as unacceptable because she was black, prosecutors have said.  Sparkle Rai was murdered April 26, 2000 in her Union City apartment and the case went unsolved until a break two years ago indicated that her relationship with Rajeeve "Ricky" Rai, now 27, was the motive. Defense lawyer Don Samuel argued that while Rai may have hired a hit man, he didn't order such a brutal killing. And while there was evidence that Rai, a native of India, believed his son's marriage would cast a stigma on his family in caste-conscious Indian society, Samuel said Rai wasn't a racist and had strong support in the African-American community in Jackson, Miss., where he had run a grocery and other businesses.

On a bit of a side note, Canada has, unfortunately has had some recent experience with honor killings. In December, Aqsa Parvez, a Toronto-area teenager of Muslim descent was allegedly killed by her father and brother because she would not wear a Hajib. More recently, in February of this year a contract killing, allegedly orchestrated by the spurned ex-girlfriend of Brampton (in the GTA) resident Jasvir Singh Dhaliwal who married another woman in India, choosing an arranged marriage over a four-year relationship. Reports say that his ex-girlfriends brother flew to Punjab, arranged to the shooting death of Dhaliwal and his cousin and then returned to Canada. There have been other recent cases in British Columbia where Canadians who decide to marry someone outside of their ‘caste’ (a very, very brief definition refers to social classes defined by hereditary groups) are murdered by family members as a way to circumvent shame and embarrassment for the family.

The case has also made headlines not specifically because of the horrific nature of the case,( the crime went unanswered for eight years) but also because of current social and racial climate, especially in the US. The Democratic Presidential nominee is a biracial man that has obviously caused some issues and questions about race in America and notions of racism have been centered on black / white relations. This case shows something that has not been widely revealed in the public eye: the dynamics of racism between two entho-cultural groups, especially because Rai, a former professor, had previously taught at predominately-black Alcorn State University employed African-Americans in his business, and was generally well-liked in the black community where he lived. But apparently, the people closest to him knew that despite his outward actions, he has some issues with blacks, most notably his son who had told his wife that his parents were dead:

Chiman Rai's ex-cell mate also testified that while sharing a cell, Mr. Rai would often call black people the scum of the earth. He stated Mr. Rai once told him, if he had a lot of money, he would kill all black people. After his wife's murder, Ricky Rai admitted to the police that his father was, "a little racist". Currently, Ricky Rai has since remarried to an Indian woman.

Rajeeve "Ricky" Rai testified yesterday. He was married to Sparkle Rai, who was brutally stabbed to death while holding their infant daughter who was "unharmed" physically. He hid the child and marriage from his Indian parents. He was asked why he hasn't seen his daughter, Analla, on whom he once doted, since shortly after the murder. He gave custody of her to Lowry (ATL reporter and step-mom) and her husband, the child's grandfather. His parents have never seen the girl. "Why haven't you seen your child in almost eight years?" Ross (prosecutor) asked."It just seemed things got more and more distant," Rai stated. Since the murder he has married an Indian woman and received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern.

There have also been some serious moral concerns raised. How could a man, after his wife was murdered, abandon his daughter? Was it because he knew that his family would never accept the girl because she was biracial? Shouldn’t he have thought about that before he had a child – or even entered a relationship with his wife? How could his father hate someone whom he didn’t know to the point that he would pay someone to stab and strangle her to death? In front of her daughter?  While we will probably never know the answer to that. A number of bloggers have wished that both the Rai men are forced to take the express train to Hell. From State of the Qusan:

 So now this man is going to get life or the death penalty over a "bad" marriage? I cannot fathom how all of this was worth it. Like it or not, he has a grandchild. His son has moved on in the "right kind" of marriage but how must he feel knowing his dad did this? How must his new wife feel knowing that her husband's family is capable of such a heinous act? I know this kind of thing may be fairly commonplace over there but it's just not going to fly here. How will this old man fare in prison in Mississippi with a whole bunch of folks who are black and know he had a black woman killed because he thought his son was too good for her? Other cultures have a right to their traditions but not when they break the law and not when people end up maimed or killed. I almost feel bad for him because he could have probably gotten away with this in India - and almost did here.

Constructive Feedback has another perspective on the case. See, the assassins that killed Rai were African American:

The Indian father hires a Black man to find a hit man to kill the Black woman. The Black middle man ends up finding a hit man, ANOTHER BLACK MAN to kill the Black woman for money.
The "Nurse Eunice Rivers/ Snarling Fox" Award is named after Nurse Eunice Rivers who was a Black female nurse who assisted in the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment. She willingly went along with individuals seeking to do active harm to Black people and thus is worthy of permanent shame. All other people who act in such a way thus are worthy of this award.
Sharing the prize this month are:
Willie Fred Evans, 74 - Black Man who conspired to kill a Black mother on behalf of a racist
Herbert Green, 60 - Black Man who conspired to kill a Black mother on behalf of a racist
Carl Clark, 43 - Black Man who conspired to kill a Black mother on behalf of a racist
Cleveland Clark, 49 - Black Man who conspired to kill a Black mother on behalf of a racist. Special acknowledgment needs to go to Cleveland Clark. He was the Black man who stabbed and strangled Sparkle. He is reported to have said that he should have killed the child as well. The 7 month old child who cried as her mother lay dead next to her.

So what do y'all think? There are other angles to this case that other bloggers have raised, such as the devaluation of black women - in this case, by the father-in-law and the amount of time that it took the police in Georia to solve the murder. For more info, check out Siddy's blog ( NOTE: she mentions the case in a couple of posts)

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