15 Facts About Kiranjit Ahluwalia


Kiranjit Ahluwalia was born on 1955 and is an Indian woman who fatally burned her husband in 1989 in the UK.


In 1977, at the age of 22, Kiranjit Ahluwalia left her home of Chak Kalal in Punjab to travel to Canada where she visited her sister.


When Kiranjit Ahluwalia looked to her family for help, they reprimanded her by saying it was a matter of family honour that she remain with her husband.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia ultimately tried running away from home but was found by her husband and brought back.


One evening in the spring of 1989, Kiranjit Ahluwalia was allegedly attacked by her husband.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia later accused him of trying to break her ankles and burn her face with a hot iron, apparently trying to extort money from her extended family.


Later that night, while her husband lay sleeping, Kiranjit Ahluwalia fetched some petrol and caustic soda mixture from the garage and mixed it to create napalm.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia poured it over the bed and set it alight, and ran into a garden with her three-year-old son.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia's counsel did not make any claims about the violence she later claimed she had endured, and the prosecution suggested that Kiranjit was motivated by jealousy because of her husband's repeated affairs.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia's conviction was overturned on appeal in 1992 on grounds of insufficient counsel since Kiranjit Ahluwalia had not been aware that she could plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia's case helped raise awareness of domestic violence in families of non-English-speaking immigrants to Western countries and changed the laws for domestic abuse victims in the United Kingdom.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia's case, known in British legal textbooks as R v Ahluwalia, changed the definition of the word "provocation" in cases of battered women to reclassify her crime as manslaughter, instead of murder, the same year as her appeal, lead to the freeing of Emma Humphreys and Sara Thornton.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia was honoured in 2001 at the first Asian Women Awards in recognition of her "strength, personal achievements, determination and commitment" in helping to bring to light the subject of domestic violence.


Kiranjit Ahluwalia wrote an autobiography with coauthor Rahila Gupta, Circle of Light.