Measure urges embassy in Nepal to probe death

Kuldip, mom, and Chander Kochhar, dad, parents of

Kuldip, mom, and Chander Kochhar, dad, parents of Bhoomika, a Syosset woman who died in Nepal, are seeking answers in the death of their daughter. (July 22, 2013) (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

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The House Appropriations Committee Wednesday passed legislation that calls on the American Embassy in Nepal to press for a "full and fair investigation" into the death of a former Syosset woman who was found dead in her home in Katmandu.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), sponsor of the language in the State and Foreign Operations appropriation bill, said many questions remain about the circumstances of the death of Bhoomika Kochhar.

"This provision sends a powerful message to the Nepali government that the United States will not tolerate anything other than a full and fair investigation into the death," Israel said. "My constituents, the Kochhar Family, are simply looking for answers . . . and I will [try] . . . to make sure they get the answers they deserve."

Kochhar, 25, attended public schools in Syosset and went on to Boston University, where she and her husband, Akaash Jatia, graduated. They were married in Katmandu in January 2011, and moved in with family there.

Kochhar was found dead in her room on June 15. Her father and sister say they were told she committed suicide, but they say they believe she was murdered. They said Kochhar's husband and in-laws locked her in a room, sometimes denied her food, ridiculed and verbally abused her and demanded a $2 million dowry.

The Nepalese embassy in Washington has not responded to requests for comment.

The bill passed in committee Wednesday funds all foreign assistance. No date has been set for the full House vote.

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