Thu May 4, 2006 6:33 PM IST162
AGARTALA, India (Reuters) – Police in the largely Christian state of Mizoram have taken 13 children away from their parents said to belong to a cult which believes attending school exposes students to satanic forces, an official said on Thursday.
Small but highly superstitious groups living near the state capital, Aizwal, say that participating in any activity run by the state makes them vulnerable to the devil, he said.
Officers acted after a plea by the head of a government-run education programme, forcibly taking the children — aged between six and 13 — and handing them to a residential school.
Mizoram has recently launched a major literacy campaign.
"They are a sectarian and separatist group," Reverend Chanchinmawia, a senior Presbyterian leader, said of the cult. "They are involved in wrong-doings."