Police exhume snake-bite girl’s body for postmortem

Thursday, June 14th, 2018 | | National

Jun 14, 2018-Police on Wednesday exhumed the body of 18-year-old Parbati Budha, who died of snake bite while in menstrual exile or Chhaupadi, at Turmakhand Rural Municipality-4 in Achham district on Saturday night.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Rakesh Tandukar said the body was exhumed and taken to Mangalsain, the district headquarters, for postmortem. “Any deaths apart from natural causes are subject to postmortem as per the law. So we had to exhume the girl’s body,” he said, adding that the postmortem will take place on Thursday.

Parbati, who had appeared in this year’s Secondary Education Examination, died after she was bitten by a snake inside the Chhaupadi hut. She was sharing the hut with another girl Radhika Budha at the time of the incident.

Following her death, Parbati’s body was hastily buried, police said.

It is learnt that the villagers and the elected people’s representatives, in order to downplay Parbati’s death in Chhaupadi hut, had pressured her family into burying her immediately.

Even the ward chairman of Turmakhand-4, Kabiram Budha, had tried to cover up the incident by claiming that Parbati had died of snake bite while she was asleep in her house, and not in Chhaupadi hut, as the media had reported.

Chhaupadi is a deeply rooted tradition practiced in the western parts of Nepal, wherein menstruating women and those in the postpartum period are forced to live in seclusion as they are deemed impure and untouchable.

Though the government declared Chhaupadi a criminal offence in August 2017, it is still practiced in far-flung areas like Turmakhand, which is 82km away from the district headquarters.