Nepalese police have arrested a man accused of stuffing his wife into a hay bale and setting it ablaze. File photo:

Kathmandu -

Police arrested a man in rural Nepal after he allegedly killed his 22-year-old pregnant wife by stuffing her into a hay bale and setting it alight, an officer said on Tuesday.

“We received a call from the husband that the woman had gone missing, but when our officers arrived on the scene they saw the body and were suspicious,” said Niraj Jha, the superintendent of police in Morang district.

He said that the man was arrested on suspicion of murder and would be presented in a local court later on Tuesday.

The woman, Maina Bardewa Bhitrikoti, who was four months pregnant, suffered burns on more than 50 percent of her body in the early hours of Monday.

Her mother told The Himalayan Times, a local daily, that she had planned to visit her daughter on the same day to discuss her recent complaints of “domestic issues”.

The couple had been married for about two years and the husband had returned from a stint working in Qatar eight months ago.

Violence against women has garnered increased public attention in Nepal in the wake of protests in India catalysed by the brutal gang-rape and death of a female student in New Delhi.

“These cases of violence are not new,” Lily Thapa, a veteran Nepalese women's rights activist, told reporters.

“It's just we're hearing about them now because women's groups have been empowered to report violence these days - it has always been around and it must be stopped,” she said.

A protest demanding justice for the survivors of gender-based violence and an end to impunity has been staged continuously for the past 103 days outside the Kathmandu residence of the prime minister. - Sapa-AFP