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Woman jumps on to husband’s funeral pyre

An Indian woman killed herself by jumping on to her husband’s funeral pyre, police said Monday, following the ancient Hindu custom of Sati outlawed in the 19th century.
/ Source: Reuters

A 78-year-old Indian woman killed herself by jumping on to her husband’s funeral pyre, police said on Monday, following the ancient Hindu custom of Sati outlawed in the 19th century.

Sita Devi’s body was found on Saturday at the cremation site in the eastern state of Bihar.

Sati, an act of devotion which means “faithful wife,” was common until it was banned by India’s British colonial rulers in 1829.

The practice largely disappeared from public view until 1987 when a young woman dressed in her bridal costume jumped on to her husband’s cremation pyre watched by thousands of people, many egging her on.

Her death sparked national outrage and forced the government to ban the glorification of sati, making it an offence punishable with a maximum sentence of seven years and a fine of up to $670.