A 13-year-old girl was seriously injured after she was thrashed and a burning piece of wood was thrust into her mouth in an ashram in Mahasamund district in Chhattisgarh, a police official said on Friday.
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).
"The complaint was lodged on February 28 by the victim's brother. Those arrested include the ashram's 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 family 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'.
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.
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