Teenage boy dies from stabbing during traditional dagger dance in Bali

File photo of traditional dancers at Bebek Tepi Sawah. Photo: Coconuts Bali
File photo of traditional dancers at Bebek Tepi Sawah. Photo: Coconuts Bali

A teenage boy in Denpasar died from a stab wound while performing in a traditional ceremony, police say, with investigation into the possibility of foul play now underway.

According to reports, the incident took place on Wednesday evening during a traditional ritual called Napak Pertiwi, which involves a sacred dance. The victim, identified as 16-year-old GNEP, was reportedly in a trance when another ritual participant, who held a ceremonial knife, punctured the victim’s body.

I Made Rispong Artha Sudanegara, who heads the local banjar (Balinese community organization), told Kompas that the use of a keris, or traditional dagger, is part of the ritual, but that safety is usually observed.

“But the victim fell down and when someone tried to help him up and check, there was blood,” Rispong said.

GNEP was taken to a hospital shortly after, but unfortunately succumbed to his wounds and died in the early hours of Thursday.

Denpasar Police Chief Jansen Avitus Panjaitan said police have yet to receive a formal complaint from GNEP’s family but are looking into the case. 

“We are still looking into it, there have been no reports from the victim [‘s family]. As police we will still look into whether or not it was deliberate, [and] in Bali there are customs and traditions so we have to investigate,” Jansen said, adding that police will consult with traditional and religious authorities in the province.  

Speaking to local media outlets, GNEP’s grandfather said the victim has been involved in traditional rituals since he was a small boy. However, he said that GNEP was much too young to perform the sacred dance ⁠— known as Rangda dance ⁠— for last week’s ritual.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.



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