//Four arrested in connection with

Four arrested in connection with

MUMBAI — Police have arrested four persons in connection with a gruesome bid at ‘human sacrifice,’ involving a 22-year-old girl, in a village near the extended suburb of Virar.Thane district police sources said yesterday that the arrested included three youngsters in their twenties, who had organised the ‘sacrifice’ to appease their deities. Jyotsna Tandel, a 22-year-old girl, had been thrown into a havan (sacred fire) at a village about 65 kms from here on Saturday morning

She suffered 60 per cent burn injuries, and was rescued by neighbours. Jyotsna has been admitted to a city hospital. According to the police, Vijay Mangela and his relatives, Bhuvnesh and Anita Mehr, organised the event to appease some deities, and praying for victims of cholera. They had dug up a huge pit near their home, and decided to ‘treat’ Jyotsna by throwing her into the raging pit. Hearing her cries, neighbours rushed in and rescued the seriously injured woman. However, she had sustained 60 per cent burn injuries and had to be taken to a Mumbai hospital for treatment. There are hundreds of villages lying within a radius of 100 km from India’s financial and commercial capital, where due to ignorance and poverty, gullible villagers are frequently exploited by charlatans, who claim ‘magical powers.’ NGOs have in recent years been trying to wean the villagers away from these frauds, but in the absence of even basic healthcare facilities, many of them are forced to patronise the so-called religious men