New mother, infant die of suffocation

Kathmandu, December 16

A 32-year-old new mother and her two-month-old baby boy were found dead this morning at their rented room in Sundar Basti, Kirtipur.

Police suspected they died due to suffocation. In a bid to heat the room, the woman had burned charcoal inside the room, which was closed, narrow and lacked proper ventilation.

The deceased Sharmila Ranjitkar and the infant Romas Ranjitkar hailed from Rupakot of Naubise Rural Municipality in Dhading district. Nabaraj Ranjitkar, 45, the father of the deceased child, told THT that he had found both mother and child lying motionless on the bed at around 3:00am today.

According to him, the mother and the child went to bed at around 9:00pm yesterday and he had slept on the floor to provide ample space to them on the bed.

Nabaraj had woken up at that hour to answer the nature’s call. “As I woke up, I saw them lying on the bed in an unusual position. So I tried to fix the baby’s position but he was already cold and rigid. Scared, I tried to wake my wife up but she too was motionless.”

The grieving husband and father said he had kindled some firewood outside the house, kept the burning charcoal inside an earthen pot and took it inside to heat the infant and the new mother. After heating, they both fell asleep.

“But, I didn’t care much about taking the pot outside and left it inside the room,” he said and added he had made charcoal to avoid possible accident due to burning firewood.

“I didn’t know that charcoal could cause such harm,” Ranjitkar said. He said there was smoke in the room when he woke up at 3:00am. He then called his friends and the landlord for help and informed the police. Police was informed by the house owner a ‘few hours later’.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Chhedilal Kamati of Metropolitan Police Circle, Kirtipur, said, “We immediately reached the spot after we received information about the incident. We suspect they died due to suffocation due to lack of oxygen in the room.”

Police have sent the body to the Department of Forensic Medicine at TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj, to find out the exact reason of death.