Nepalese authorities are searching for a man who allegedly set his pregnant wife on fire due an apparent dispute over her dowry, a police officer said Tuesday.
Police accuse Farid Sheikh and his parents of dousing kerosene over the 25-year-old woman, who was seven months pregnant, in an effort to extort a motorcycle and water buffalo from her relatives.
"When the incident happened about a month ago, they took her to India for treatment, saying it was an accident," police official Prem Basnyat told AFP.
After the woman’s health deteriorated and she suffered a miscarriage, her father filed charges against the husband's family in Banke district, western Nepal.
"We recorded her statement yesterday, but her husband and in-laws have vanished. We are searching for them," Basnyat said.
A Nepalese human rights group said it brought the young woman to a Kathmandu hospital on Monday where she remains in critical condition.
The woman told how her husband "assaulted her regularly, saying that she did not bring... a dowry. She added that he burnt her private parts with cigarettes," according to a statement by the Informal Sector Service Centre.
Dowry-related violence has long been a social problem in this South Asian country of nearly 27 million people.