Nepalese man burns pregnant wife alive: Police

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Police have arrested a man in rural Nepal after he allegedly killed his 22-year-old pregnant wife by stuffing her into a hay bale and setting it alight, an officer said on Tuesday.

"We received a call from the husband that the woman had gone missing, but when our officers arrived on the scene they saw the body and were suspicious," Niraj Jha, superintendent of police in Morang district, said.

He said that the man was arrested on suspicion of murder and would be presented in a local court later on Tuesday.

The woman, Maina Bardewa Bhitrikoti, who was four-months pregnant, suffered burns on more than fifty percent of her body in the alleged murder in the early hours of Monday.

Her mother told The Himalayan Times, a local daily, that she had planned to visit her daughter on the same day to discuss her recent complaints of "domestic issues".

The couple had been married for about two years and the husband, Prithvi, had returned from a stint working in Qatar eight months ago.

Violence against women has garnered increased public attention in Nepal in the wake of protests in India catalysed by the brutal gang-rape and death of a female student in New Delhi.

"These cases of violence are not new," Lily Thapa, a veteran Nepalese women's rights activist, said.

"It's just we're hearing about them now because women's groups have been empowered to report violence these days - it has always been around and it must be stopped," she said.

A protest demanding justice for gender-based violence survivors and an end to impunity has been staged continuously for the past 103 days outside the Kathmandu residence of the prime minister.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.