Violence Against Women

8 Banke women set on fire in 2 and half yrs

Published On: January 24, 2017 07:49 AM NPT By: Kalendra Sejuwal

Some victims don’t dare to bring such cases out in public as they are more worried about the future of the children. So they suffer in silence. 


NEPALGUNJ, Jan 24: The bright face of Rihana Dhapali makes one feel this girl has never known sorrow. But her beautiful smile only hides the pain gnawing in her heart. Her body still starts shaking whenever she remembers the horrendous incident that befell her one and a half years ago.

The man who allegedly burnt her alive, her husband, is still roaming free and this makes her blood boil.Rihana of Hirminiya, Ahirpurwa said, “The criminal who set me on fire for dowry is still roaming free in the village and keeps threatening me.” Police are not arresting him. “We are tired of requesting the police,” she said.

The practice of burning women is not uncommon in Banke. In the last two and half years, eight women have been burnt alive in the district. Three of them succumbed to the burns. 
On October 14, 2014, two women were burned alive. Hem Kumari Dhobi and Puja Thakur of Nepalgunj were set alight allegedly by their own husbands. Puja was able to survive but not Hem Kumari. 
A recent case in this list is that of 23 years old Anisha Khatik, who was burned allegedly by her husband Rajendra Khatik. She was doused in kerosene after a family dispute. More than 50 percent of her body was burnt. She was initially taken to Bheri Zonal Hospital but was referred to a well-equipped hospital in the capital. The alleged perpetrator is still at large. 

“We have deployed a special team to find him and even his family and in laws are co-operating with us,” said Rajendra Gautam, in-charge at the ward police office.
Meanwhile, Bindu Kunwar, a woman activist, asked, “How long must women struggle against domestic violence?” According to her, the increase in such cases is a threat to the security of all women. 

Local women accuse the police of not taking the issue seriously.  Dhapali’s case is a dismal example. “Despite the perpetrator roaming free in the village, he has not come into the police net,” according to them.
Salin Shekh, a relative of Rihana, said, “Police are plotting to protect the criminals and we are helpless!” 

Salin claims that Rihana’s husband Farid Dhapali ran off to India after the incident and he keeps visiting Nepal. “Police  were informed during his last visit but they said they couldn’t find him,” Salin said, accusing police of  being biased. “It’s not hard to find him if they really want to,” he added. 

Some victims don’t dare to bring such cases out in public as they are more worried about the future of the children. So they suffer in silence. 
Gita Nepali (Shekh) of Bardia, Mahamadpur was admitted to the burns ward of Bheri Zonal Hospital on August 2, 2015.  Police suspect that she was burned by her husband, but the victim herself is quiet about it. A lot of people were stunned when Gita said no one else was responsible for her injuries, that she had tried to commit suicide.  

 “The forgiving nature of women and their fear of being attacked again sometimes become a problem in the investigations,” said Tek Prasad Rai, SP at District Police Office, Banke. 

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