A poverty-stricken tribal woman was forced to marry her dead partner in Bihar to save their four children from the stigma of illegitimacy.
The incident took place at Rosaiya village under Katoria block of Banka district last week and the authorities confirmed it on Friday.
Chudki Hembrom (30) and Mahanlal Marandi had been living together as per tribal custom but disaster struck when Mahanlal died.
Faced with the prospect of her children being considered illegitimate Chudki married her dead partner as per Hindu rituals before his body was consigned to the flames and was made to apply sindoor on her head briefly before washing it off as is the practice among widows.
The couple, who made their living working as farm labourers and collecting forest produce, has four children, three of whom are toddlers.
After the incident came to light Katoria block development officer Rajkumar Sharma and other officials met Chudki and offered her various assistances like a house under Indira Awas Yojana and Rs. 200 per month as widow pension.
"We have assured her to help out in different other ways including ensuring enrolment of her eldest daughter in a government school," Sharma told PTI over phone.
The authorities would also help the woman's three toddlers in future, he said.
The marriage of a dead man and his living partner was usual among tribals, Sharma said and denied that Mahalal had died due to penury.
The death was due to health problems, he claimed.