The body of a 50-year-old woman was found at her husband’s pyre giving rise to suspicion that she performed ‘sati’, a practice banned in India.
The incident happened at a village in Maharashtra’s Latur district.
When the family members went to collect the ashes of deceased 55-year-old Tukaram Mane on Tuesday, they found his wife Usha’s burnt body in the pyre.
Within hours of Tukaram’s funeral, his 50-year-old widow Usha had gone missing on Monday night.
Latur SP DnyaneshwarChavan said the woman’s husband, hailing from Lohata village, died on Sunday evening and was cremated the same day.
However, on Monday, it was discovered that the body was only partially burnt and he was cremated again, Chavan said.
Usha was ailing and weak and had even been recently hospitalised, a police official said.
“On Monday night, she went missing from her house and early Tuesday, her burnt body was found at Tukaram’s pyre,” he said.
The kin and villagers then lit another pyre to conduct her last rites, he added.
The Killari police in Latur district have registered a case of ‘accidental death’ of Usha.
Chavan said it was surprising that nobody from the couple’s family or even the village approached police to inform them about the events since Sunday.
The couple is survived by two sons.
Sati refers to a funeral ritual within some Asian communities in which a widowed woman commits suicide typically on the husband’s funeral pyre.
The practice was outlawed by the British Raj in 1829 in their territories in India, followed up by laws in the same directions by the authorities in the princely states of India in the ensuing decades, with a general ban for the whole of India issued by Queen Victoria in 1861.
The Indian Sati Prevention Act of 1988 further criminalised any type of aiding, abetting, and glorifying of sati.