The Indian market where rat earns top price

1 / 5
Hindu devotees prepare treats for rats at the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke near Bikaner, in the Indian state of Rajasthan on December 24, 2018. (AFP)
2 / 5
In this file photo taken on December 23, 2018 an Indian tea-tribe vendor sells cooked and uncooked rats at a weekly market in Kumarikata village along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90km from Guwahati. (AFP)
3 / 5
In this file photo taken on December 23, 2018 an Indian tea-tribe vendor sells cooked and uncooked rats at a weekly market in Kumarikata village along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90km from Guwahati. (AFP)
4 / 5
In this file photo taken on December 23, 2018 an Indian tea-tribe vendor sells cooked and uncooked rats at a weekly market in Kumarikata village along the Indo-Bhutan border, some 90km from Guwahati. (AFP)
5 / 5
Rats drink from bowl of milk at the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke near Bikaner, in the Indian state of Rajasthan on December 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 December 2018
0

The Indian market where rat earns top price

  • The traps are placed at the entrance of the rat-holes in the evening and the rodents are caught as they come out to scavenge

KUMARIKATA, India: Freshly-caught rat is at the top of the holiday menu for crowds flocking to a market in northeastern India that specializes in rodents from local fields.
Destined to be boiled, skinned and then cooked in a spicy gravy, rat is more popular than chicken and pork with customers at the Sunday market in the village of Kumarikata in Assam state.
Shoppers buy hundreds of freshly caught and skinned rats that local farmers say are hunted to avoid damage to their fields in the state which borders Bhutan. The ready-roasted kind also goes down well. Rat has become a valuable source of income for the poor “Adivasi” tribal people who struggle to make ends meet working in Assam’s famed tea gardens.
In the winter months when tea picking slumbers, the Adivasis go to rice paddies to trap rats for the market. A kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of rat meat, which is considered a delicacy, sells for about 200 rupees ($2.8) — as much as for chicken and pork. Farmers say the region has seen growing numbers of rats in recent years. “We put traps in the fields as the rats eat people’s paddy,” Samba Soren, a rat vendor at Kumarikata, told AFP. The rodents are hunted at night during the harvesting season with traps made from bamboo. The traps are placed at the entrance of the rat-holes in the evening and the rodents are caught as they come out to scavenge.
The vendors have to work at night to make sure other predators do not get to the dead rats first. Some of the rats weigh more than a kilogramme and the market traders say they get between 10 and 20 kilogrammes a night.


El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

Evelyn Hernandez (C) is surrounded by activists after being released from the women's Readaptation Center, in Ilopango, El Salvador, on February 9, 2019, where she was serving a 30-year-sentence for aggravated homicide after her baby died at birth. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
0

El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

  • Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR: A Salvadoran court on Friday freed Evelyn Hernandez, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she gave birth to a stillborn baby at home.
After serving 33 months for aggravated homicide, 20-year-old Hernandez smiled as she was reunited with her parents and a brother in the capital San Salvador.
The court in Cojutepeque, east of the capital, ruled that she will be retried but while living at home. A hearing has been set for April 4, with a new judge, her lawyer Angelica Rivas said.
El Salvador has an extremely strict abortion ban. Hernandez gave birth in the makeshift bathroom of her home in the central Cuscatlan region. She was 18 years old and eight months pregnant.
She said her son was stillborn but was convicted of murdering him, abortion rights group ACDATEE said.
ACDATEE cited a pathologist’s report which it said indicated the baby had choked to death while still in the womb.
Prosecutors argued Hernandez was culpable for not having sought prenatal care, ACDATEE said.
The group said Hernandez had not known she was pregnant and gave birth on the toilet after feeling abdominal pains. She got pregnant as the result of a rape, which she did not report out of fear because her family had been threatened.
Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador. Campaigners say some have been jailed after suffering miscarriages.
The country’s abortion law made international headlines in 2013 when a sick woman was forbidden from aborting a fetus which developed without a brain.
Under a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Salvadoran state eventually authorized her to undergo a cesarean section. The baby died shortly after the procedure.