Patna: A 70-year-old woman named Gahwa Devi jumped into the pyre of her 90-year-old husband Ramcharitra Mandal in Parminia village of Saharsa district in Bihar. The woman’s son, Ramesh Mandal, denied the incident saying that his mother died within hours after his father passed away and she was cremated along with her husband. “My mother died of heart attack due to shock over my father's death.” he said
However, locals said that the woman could not bear the loss of her husband and in a fit of shock jumped into the fire when her relatives left the cremation ground to take bath. The cremation ground was near the house of the deceased, but there are no eyewitness to the incident. By the time the family members came to know about the incident and reached the cremation ground, Gahwa Devi had already burned herself to death. Finding no way out the relatives put more woods on the burning woman.
This was the first reported case of Sati in Bihar. In 2006 a woman had committed suicide in Begusarai district by throwing herself on a pyre. For a while it was mistaken as a case of Sati. The case of Gahwa Devi is being investigated by the police. “We have started an investigation into this shocking incident,” deputy superintendent of police Arvind Kumar said.
‘Sati’ refers to a funeral ritual in which a recently widowed woman immolates herself on the husband’s pyre. The practice was banned by Governor General Lord William Bentick in 1829.