According to a police official on Friday, a 13-year-old girl sustained severe injuries when she was beaten and had a burning piece of wood forcibly inserted into her mouth at an ashram in the Mahasamund district of Chhattisgarh.
Three persons were arrested on Thursday for alleged involvement in the crime, which took place on February 24 in Jai Gurudev Manas Ashram in Paterapali village under Bagbahra police station limits, said Ajay Shankar Tripathi, Sub Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP).
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“The complaint was lodged on February 28 by the victim’s brother. Those arrested include the ashrams operator-cum-head guru. As per initial probe, the child, from Abhanpur area in Raipur district, was brought to the ashram for treatment of some mental ailment though jhaad-phoonk (exorcism),” the SDOP said.
“After her brother left her at the ashram and returned home, three sevadars (volunteers) thrashed the girl after an argument broke out over offering bhog. The three inserted a piece of burning wood inside her mouth, causing serious burn injuries. They threatened her kin to not report the matter to anyone,” he added.
The brother of the victim told reporters the three men accused the teen girl of mixing poison in the bhog.
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The three have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections 307 (attempt to murder), 294 (obscene acts), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, with section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) also slapped against the operator-cum-head guru, the official informed.
“The girl was first admitted in a hospital in Bagbahra and then shifted to a medical facility in Arang in Raipur. We have found a lot of people visit the ashram for jhaad-phoonk and such methods of treatment, Tripathi said.
The Mahasamund superintendent of police (SP) has ordered inspection of ashrams where such kinds of treatment was being provided, while the state revenue department has asked for details about the ashram in question, its land and other operational details, the SDOP said.
(With agency inputs)