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Pictures | Wed Dec 2, 2020 | 7:35pm EST

Nepal's female soldiers break taboos as they gather COVID dead

A female soldier wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) offers a garland on the body of a coronavirus victim provided by the family members at the crematorium, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. Women touching a dead body is still a cultural taboo in Nepal. But rights for women have improved since the majority-Hindu country emerged from a decade-long conflict in 2006 and abolished its centuries-old feudal monarchy two years later. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) offers a garland on the body of a coronavirus victim provided by the family members at the crematorium, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kathmandu, Nepal,...more

A female soldier wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) offers a garland on the body of a coronavirus victim provided by the family members at the crematorium, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. Women touching a dead body is still a cultural taboo in Nepal. But rights for women have improved since the majority-Hindu country emerged from a decade-long conflict in 2006 and abolished its centuries-old feudal monarchy two years later. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, Leela, a 25-year-old private, and Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, smile as they speak with each other while posing for group pictures after being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. The women carrying corpses in Kathmandu, all soldiers, are being deployed for the first time as the nation of 30 million people tries to manage the bodies of COVID-19 victims amid the growing pandemic. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, Leela, a 25-year-old private, and Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, smile as they speak with each other while posing for group pictures after being discharged from quarantine at...more

Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, Leela, a 25-year-old private, and Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, smile as they speak with each other while posing for group pictures after being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. The women carrying corpses in Kathmandu, all soldiers, are being deployed for the first time as the nation of 30 million people tries to manage the bodies of COVID-19 victims amid the growing pandemic. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers pay tribute to the bodies of coronavirus victims at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. "I feel privileged and happy for being given a chance to do the work that was done only by the males so far," said one of the women, a 25-year-old corporal named Rachana, who asked to be identified by just one name. "Society is changing ... I have not been to my family since I started my new duty, but my friends are happy. They thank me and say, 'You have performed a difficult task carefully and maintained your personal safety. Thank you'. I feel happy." REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers pay tribute to the bodies of coronavirus victims at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. "I feel privileged and happy for being given a chance to do the work that was done only by the males so far," said one of the...more

Female soldiers pay tribute to the bodies of coronavirus victims at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. "I feel privileged and happy for being given a chance to do the work that was done only by the males so far," said one of the women, a 25-year-old corporal named Rachana, who asked to be identified by just one name. "Society is changing ... I have not been to my family since I started my new duty, but my friends are happy. They thank me and say, 'You have performed a difficult task carefully and maintained your personal safety. Thank you'. I feel happy." REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A female soldier's goggles are covered with vapor after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. Nepal Army spokesman Shantosh B. Poudyal said the 95,000-strong force was putting women soldiers in new roles, part of a programme to empower them.

"Women were deployed in combat duty, hospitals, ordnance, engineers and disasters before. This is the first time they are managing the bodies from hospitals and transporting them to the crematorium," Poudyal told Reuters. "You can say it is breaking the borders ... breaking the glass ceiling."

Nepal's army is responsible for managing the bodies of coronavirus victims across the nation. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier's goggles are covered with vapor after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. Nepal Army spokesman Shantosh B. Poudyal said the 95,000-strong force was putting women soldiers in new roles, part...more

A female soldier's goggles are covered with vapor after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. Nepal Army spokesman Shantosh B. Poudyal said the 95,000-strong force was putting women soldiers in new roles, part of a programme to empower them. "Women were deployed in combat duty, hospitals, ordnance, engineers and disasters before. This is the first time they are managing the bodies from hospitals and transporting them to the crematorium," Poudyal told Reuters. "You can say it is breaking the borders ... breaking the glass ceiling." Nepal's army is responsible for managing the bodies of coronavirus victims across the nation. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A team of female soldiers attend a preparation class on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims inside their barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A team of female soldiers attend a preparation class on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims inside their barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A team of female soldiers attend a preparation class on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims inside their barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, along with Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, Leela, a 25-year-old private, and Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, eat breakfast before being discharged from quarantine on the premises of an army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. "It is my duty to remove the dead bodies and I am proud of what I am doing," said Krishna Kumari.

The 37-year-old sergeant added: "The work is physically demanding ... and we have proved that women are capable of doing difficult tasks during the pandemic." REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, along with Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, Leela, a 25-year-old private, and Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, eat breakfast before being discharged from quarantine on the premises of an army barracks in...more

Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, along with Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, Leela, a 25-year-old private, and Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, eat breakfast before being discharged from quarantine on the premises of an army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. "It is my duty to remove the dead bodies and I am proud of what I am doing," said Krishna Kumari. The 37-year-old sergeant added: "The work is physically demanding ... and we have proved that women are capable of doing difficult tasks during the pandemic." REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A female soldier offers a garland on the body of a coronavirus victim provided by the family members at the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier offers a garland on the body of a coronavirus victim provided by the family members at the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier offers a garland on the body of a coronavirus victim provided by the family members at the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A female soldier disinfects herself during training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier disinfects herself during training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier disinfects herself during training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers load a body of a coronavirus victim inside a truck before heading towards the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020.  REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers load a body of a coronavirus victim inside a truck before heading towards the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers load a body of a coronavirus victim inside a truck before heading towards the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, who gave only her first name applies sanitizer after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, who gave only her first name applies sanitizer after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, who gave only her first name applies sanitizer after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A female soldier takes part in training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier takes part in training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier takes part in training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A female soldier disinfects a dummy representing a body of a coronavirus victim as she takes part in training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier disinfects a dummy representing a body of a coronavirus victim as she takes part in training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A female soldier disinfects a dummy representing a body of a coronavirus victim as she takes part in training on how to handle bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, and Leela, a 25-year-old private, look on from the balcony of their room before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, and Leela, a 25-year-old private, look on from the balcony of their room before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Krishna Kumari, a 37-year-old sergeant, and Leela, a 25-year-old private, look on from the balcony of their room before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A team of female soldiers assigned to handle bodies of coronavirus victims is seen during physical training in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A team of female soldiers assigned to handle bodies of coronavirus victims is seen during physical training in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A team of female soldiers assigned to handle bodies of coronavirus victims is seen during physical training in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Leela, a 25-year-old private, closes the door of a vehicle as she and her colleagues (unseen) leave the quarantine area at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Leela, a 25-year-old private, closes the door of a vehicle as she and her colleagues (unseen) leave the quarantine area at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Leela, a 25-year-old private, closes the door of a vehicle as she and her colleagues (unseen) leave the quarantine area at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers sit inside a vehicle as they transport bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers sit inside a vehicle as they transport bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers sit inside a vehicle as they transport bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers arrive to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium from a morgue in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers arrive to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium from a morgue in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers arrive to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium from a morgue in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers lift a stretcher with the body of a coronavirus victim as family members mourn at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers lift a stretcher with the body of a coronavirus victim as family members mourn at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers lift a stretcher with the body of a coronavirus victim as family members mourn at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Family members mourn as female soldiers handle the bodies of coronavirus victims at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Family members mourn as female soldiers handle the bodies of coronavirus victims at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Family members mourn as female soldiers handle the bodies of coronavirus victims at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A body of a coronavirus victim lies in a morgue as female soldiers arrive to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A body of a coronavirus victim lies in a morgue as female soldiers arrive to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A body of a coronavirus victim lies in a morgue as female soldiers arrive to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers prepare to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium from a morgue in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers prepare to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium from a morgue in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers prepare to transport bodies of coronavirus victims to the crematorium from a morgue in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers take a rest after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers take a rest after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers take a rest after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Female soldiers remove personal protective equipment after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers remove personal protective equipment after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Female soldiers remove personal protective equipment after handling bodies of coronavirus victims in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, is seen through the window before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, is seen through the window before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, is seen through the window before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, is seen through the window of a room before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, is seen through the window of a room before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, is seen through the window of a room before being discharged from quarantine at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, along with Leela, a 25-year-old private and Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, prepare to leave the quarantine area at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, along with Leela, a 25-year-old private and Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, prepare to leave the quarantine area at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Rashmi, a 25-year-old corporal, along with Leela, a 25-year-old private and Rachana, a 25-year-old corporal, prepare to leave the quarantine area at the premises of army barracks in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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A general view of a building where female soldiers who handled the bodies of coronavirus victims are kept for quarantine on the premises of an army barracks, in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A general view of a building where female soldiers who handled the bodies of coronavirus victims are kept for quarantine on the premises of an army barracks, in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A general view of a building where female soldiers who handled the bodies of coronavirus victims are kept for quarantine on the premises of an army barracks, in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 21, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
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