CLOSE family members of Irma Bule – the Indonesian Dangdut singer who made headlines around the world last week after dying from an on-stage cobra bite – believe there was more to the tragic story, suggesting the performer could have fallen victim to murder.
Reaching out to the media recently, the performer’s uncle, Maman, opined that Irma’s death could have been planned out of spite, as opposed to being a mere accident.
He said he believed that the death was planned, owing to a striking inconsistency in the circumstances surrounding the case, Coconuts Jakarta reported.
“Please figure out if there was a violation of the law here. [Irma’s death] may have been due to negligence or it could have been premeditated murder, could it not?” Maman said, as quoted by Liputan6.
“The snake was prepared beforehand, but the snake handler was different from the one Irma regularly uses.”
Echoing his comments, Irma’s mother, Encum, said she shared the same suspicions.
“It was a different snake [than Irma usually danced with on stage]. [Irma’s] snake usually had its mouth tied up, given relaxants and spells so that it would dance together [with Irma],” she said.
According to Coconuts Jakarta, the police had yet to reveal the results of the probe into Irma’s death, including the possibility of foul play.
The singer’s bid to use a venomous snake as a gimmick for a show in West Java ended in tragedy on April 3 when the cobra bit her during a performance. She was only into her second song when she reportedly stepped on the snake’s tail, causing it to bite her.
Despite the bite, the mother-of-three did not seek immediate medical attention and proceeded to finish her 45-minute set, resulting in her death several hours later.
Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian folk music that combines Indian and Arabic influences. It is widely popular in the country and the region.
The celebrity status of female dangdut singers is not as glamorous as it appears, as performers like Irma are paid a paltry Rp 350,000 (US$26) per show.