27-yr-old hurled into havan suffers 70% burns after the ‘treatment
Thane: Anita Meher (27), a ‘tantrik’ from Virar, was on Friday arrested for allegedly prescribing that a woman who was suffering from physical weakness be thrown into the havan pyre to be cured. The victim, Jyotsna Tandel (22), suffered from 70 per cent burns, police officials said.
When Tandel approached Meher, who has allegedly gained a reputation in the area as a ‘devi’ with miraculous cures for diseases, the latter recommended a ‘havan’. On Friday night, Meher conducted the ritual, at Tembipada, a fishing village near Arnala. There was a thick smoke in the house because of the fire, cops said. According to the police, it was in the resulting melee that Meher gestured to Tandel’s uncle Vijay Mangela to push her into the fire. Despite the burns Tandel was then kept in a corner of the house, as per Meher’s directions, cops said. It was only on the next day, when Tandel’s father Vasudeo, a fisherman, returned and saw the trauma his daughter was undergoing. He then admitted her to Sanjeevani Hospital and approached PI S Kokil at Virar police station. The doctors at Sanjeevani advised him to shift Tandel to KEM Hospital for further treatment.
The village, in which the incident occurred, has had about six cases of chicken pox, for which the villagers have been seeking Meher’s help. The police, however, denied that Tandel was being ‘sacrificed’ in a bid to eradicate chicken pox from the fishing village. A complaint against Meher was lodged under Section 307 (attempt to commit murder), 34 (common intention) and 342 (illegal detention) under the Indian Penal Code. Meher and Mangela have been arrested, police said. About 20 more people are likely to be arrested for abetting the illegal activity, they added.