It is a superstition dating back several centuries: in Bangladesh, the "tiger widows" are accused of bringing bad luck, and therefore, of being at the origin of the death of their husband. Overnight, they are treated as plague victims by society.
It was the painful experience of Mosammat Rashida, a resident of the city of Shyamnagar. About ten years ago, her husband succumbed to the fangs of a tiger while going to collect honey - an activity often practiced by the fathers of poor families. Since then, she has raised her two children, the youngest alone, while the oldest have abandoned her, like the rest of the village.
After the tragedy, she received the equivalent of € 1,089 in compensation. A sum that she invested in her cabin, which is her place of residence. But in November 2019, cyclone Bulbul devastated it. "Now I don't know what I'm going to do," said the 45-year-old mother.
"People often say that I am a nasty and unloved woman"
Rijia Khatun, another "tiger widow", lost her husband fifteen years ago. "People often say that I am a nasty and unloved woman, she laments. They say that my husband was killed because I spoke to someone badly. They keep telling me blame for his death. "
But she was able to benefit from the support of her nephew, Yaad Ali, who was present at the death of her uncle. "With the family, we had to help Rijia in secret, otherwise the people of the village would have ostracized us too," he said.
Between 2001 and 2011, in a district of half a million people, tigers killed at least 519 men.
Figures reported by the organization Ledars Bangladesh, which is now working to reintegrate "tiger widows" in the villages.
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