KATHMANDU, Nov 5: The names Asha Kumari and Ritulal are tattooed on the 32-year-old woman’s hand. Asha has been married to Ritulal Sada for 16 years and they have four kids. On Saturday afternoon, Ritulal dipped her face in boiling fish curry just because she was slow with his lunch. The face became swollen, the eyes puckered up and the burned skin turned black.
“I cannot bear to look at her face, I feel extremely disturbed,” said Asha’s elder sister Gita Sada, who has been waiting upon her at the TU Teaching Hospital in the capital. “She has not looked in the mirror since this incident. I don’t know how she would react if she did look.”
Ritulal’s dastardly deed took place at around 3 pm. He then locked her up inside the house and took off. He did come back with some ointment for her. But he vanished again early next morning on sensing that others had come to know about it, according to police who had been alerted by some neighbors.
With the help of the local authorities they took her to a nearby hospital and later brought her to Kathmandu by ambulance. She knows her husband has done something unforgivable but she does not want him punished as that might affect the future of her children.
Barely able to speak, she told Republica on Monday that she is greatly worried about the children. She gave birth to twin boys last year. “They are living with my mother and I miss them bad,” she said.
Domestic violence does not become a big issue in the Sadas’ village in Dakaha of Sindhuli district unless something really outrageous happens. Wife-beating and kicking are commonplace, says Gita. “The wives take it in stride too.” But this last incident has shaken her to the core. “I weep when I see her,” said the 32-year-old. “In the past when her husband had gone to Saudi Arabia, she used to be beaten up by her father-in-law,” Gita added.
Asha and Ritulal were married when they were both 15. Ritulal then went to the Gulf for work and came back six years ago. According to the victim, her husband had last beaten her up during the festival of Tihar. “He would beat me every now and then and the last time was during the festival,” she said, adding that the burns really hurt. “But if the police put him away, I will have a hard time raising my children.”
Most people in their village are day laborers who struggle to get by. According to Asha, her husband might have fled toward the jungle near their settlement. The names tattooed in her hand seem to mock her when she talks about him. “I used to love him, but no more,” she said with moist eyes.
Police said the culprit will soon be in their net. “We have carried out a determined search and he will be arrested,” said DSP Lok Darshan Thapa at District Police Office, Sindhuli.
BVS Nepal, an organization working for burn victims, has assured Asha of free treatment and counseling and of picking up the tabs for the first phase of her hospital stay. The organization has been supporting such victims since its inception in 2008, according to its director Pratiksha Giri.