A 28-year-old housewife has been arrested after allegedly poisoning the food at a family function, killing five, including four children.

According to Deutsche Presse Agentur, Maharahtra police in Western India arrested the woman, who police say was fed up with constant taunts from her husband and his family over her dark complexion and lack of skills in the kitchen.

Senior police official, Sanjay Patil, said the woman laced the food with a pesticide during a family house-warming.

"The woman was married two years ago [and] said she was humiliated and victimised by her husband's family who often mocked her over her dark skin tone and lack of cooking skills," Patil said on Saturday.

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"She admitted to the crime citing marital, family disputes. She held a grudge against them and she had an intention to kill her in-laws and other relatives by mixing pesticide in the food."

Four children, between the ages of seven and 13, as well as a 53-year-old man, died after consuming the food.

Several other victims remain in hospital the woman has been charged with murder and is due to appear in court.

Cases of abuse and mistreatment of woman are common in India, and Indian society holds a deep-rooted idea that fair skin is beautiful and dark skin is associated with poverty.