Real stories - Laxmi (name changed)
Name of the patient: Laxmi
Age: 19 years
Address: Nepalgunj, Banke District
Degree of burn: 40%
Reason of burn: Homicide attempt - Dowry
Laxmi was a housewife who lived with her in-laws while her husband worked in a factory in Mumbai. When he returned home, he regularly assaulted her. A week before Holi, her husband came back from India, and threatened her because he wanted a motorbike, a buffalo and gold as extra dowry.
He tortured her and burnt her private parts with a cigarette. He then held her hand behind her back while her mother-in-law poured kerosene on her and then her husband set her alight with matches. She was seven months pregnant when this happened. Laxmi ran away and apparently lost consciousness. She woke up in hospital but as her baby was burnt it was still born.
Laxmi was taken to Bahraich in India by her in-laws on March 17 2014, telling the medical staff that she had set herself on fire. When her father reached Bahraich after learning about the incident, the in-laws immediately left. He brought her back to Bheri Zonal Hospital, in Nepalgunj on April 21.
The incident came to light after her father appealed to INSEC Nepalgunj to take steps to provide justice and pay for treatment given that she stated that she was burnt by her husband and his family. The case is ongoing.
She was transferred to the BIR Hospital, Kathmandu where she received treatment for two months before going back home. In August, she had to return to the BIR hospital for further treatment. Following numerous surgeries Laxmi eventually returned to her family in September.
BVS Nepal supported her by paying for medicine, surgeries, transportation and nutrition, counselling and physiotherapy sessions. Additionally, we were able to provide her with seed money to establish a small village shop which has enabled her to become independent.