After Vrindavan, Sulabh to help ‘tiger widows’ of Sunderbans

Over 1,000 men killed by big cats in the dense mangrove forests in recent years.

Updated - January 20, 2018 08:19 am IST

Published - January 19, 2018 10:28 pm IST - Kolkata

Widows queue up at a Kolkata hotel to participate in a workshop on January 19, 2018.

Widows queue up at a Kolkata hotel to participate in a workshop on January 19, 2018.

Moved by the plight of women whose husbands were killed by tigers in the Sunderbans, the West Bengal government on Friday said it would join hands with social organisation Sulabh International to ameliorate the misery of those ‘tiger widows’.

According to reports, over 1,000 men have been killed by tigers in the past few years when they ventured inside the dense mangrove forest in the absence of toilets in their homes, and for collecting wood and honey. The hapless widows have been branded as “ swami-kheko” (husband-eaters) by their superstitious in-laws.

The Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest located between India and Bangladesh, has attained the dubious distinction of being home to a large number of widows. The initiative was announced at a workshop here attended by as many as 12 women from the Sunderbans. Widows from Nabadwip in West Bengal and from Vrindavan and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh too were present at the workshop which deliberated on the plight of these women and ways to erase the social stigma attached to them. Sulabh has earned praise for working for the widows of Vrindavan.

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