In a tragic incident, bride in Gujarat's Bhavnagar died of a heart attack in the middle of her wedding on Sunday, 26 February. But what was worse was that even before her funeral could take place, her family proposed that her younger sister marry the groom at the same venue.
What happened? Hetal, the daughter of Jinabhai Rathore, was in the process of marrying Vishal, the son of Ranabhai Butabhai Algotar, at Bhagwaneshwar Mahadev Temple in Bhavnagar when she suddenly felt dizzy and collapsed.
She was rushed to a hospital nearby, where the doctors said she died of a heart attack.
And then? Her relatives proposed that her younger sister replace her as the bride and marry Vishal. The wedding celebrations continued, and Hetal's body was placed in cold storage until the ceremony was over, according to News18.
Why you should read on: According to News18, the corporator of Bhavnagar and the leader of Maldhari Samaj, Laxmanbhai Rathore, said that though the family was in shock by Hetal's death, they "set an example" by not sending the bridegroom and his family "empty-handed."
Netizens react: The incident has drawn ire on social media, with many pointing out how "dispensable" women are considered even today. Singer Chinmayi Sripaada tweeted about the incident, saying, "That's how disposable and replaceable girls are in Indian society."
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted: "A bride died while wedding rituals were on, the guests convinced parents to get younger daughter married to the groom, as groom can’t go ‘empty handed’, till nuptials not over keep their daughter’s body in a freezer. Women & their status in society summed up."
"Guess that's the value of a woman's life…" tweeted Kanika Sikka, a journalist. Dibyesh Anand, a Twitter user, pointed out that this is what happens "when women are seen as property."
Not the first time: This is, however, not the first time that this has happened in India. On 27 May 2021, a woman named Surabhi and her groom were exchanging garlands at their wedding in Uttar Pradesh when she collapsed due to a heart attack.
But after she was declared dead by doctors, the families of the bride and groom agreed that the bride's younger sister, Nisha, would wed the groom.