Representational Image
Representational Image

Chandrapur: A newly wed woman was allegedly subjected to near-starvation for 50 days by her husband and educated in-laws in Shegaon village in Chimur, Chandrapur, on the advice of a self-styled godman, as part of a bizarre black magic ritual in the hope that hidden treasure near their house would reveal itself, police said on Wednesday. The Karekars had been blindly following 'aghori' and other forms of black magic. After learning about the incident, the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti approached the police and sought action against the woman's husband, in-laws and others. A complaint was lodged on Tuesday and the woman's husband and the self-proclaimed godman were arrested on Wednesday, S P Borkute, assistant police inspector (API) of Shegaon police station, said.

"The duo was booked under section 498 (A) (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and under various sections of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013," Borkute said. They will be produced before a local court on Thursday, Borkute said, adding that further investigation is on. "The woman had got married in August 2018. A self- proclaimed godman had advised the woman's husband and her in-laws that they would get 'hidden treasure' if she were starved and made to perform certain rituals. From the first day of her marital life, they started harassing the woman by forcing her to perform vedic rituals on a tortoise, among other things," an officer from Shegaon police station said.

"She was physically and mentally tortured and forced to survive on very little food for 50 days. During that time, they also made her perform puja daily from 2.45 am till dawn. Her in-laws would thrash her if she made a mistake during the rituals," he added. The neighbours were clueless because of the high compound walls around the Karekars' home. The woman could not get in touch with her parents because her phone had been snatched by her in-laws, Shegaon Police said. As if this ordeal was not enough, the woman also learnt that she was Sameer's third wife. "However, her father suspected something was amiss and visited her house. He was shocked to find his daughter in a dire state. He took her back home, where she narrated her ordeal," police said. The father went to the police and the forest department and lodged official complaints. But no action was taken against the Karekars.

The woman, who is from Armori in Gadchiroli, was married off to Sameer Gunvant Karekar in August 2018. Her nightmare began on Day 1 of her marriage. She was woken up at 2.30am and made to wash the compound of the dargah and clean the spot where the treasure was allegedly buried. For the next two hours she was forced to feed puffed rice to the tortoise. Then her husband Sameer claimed to have been possessed by 'Tajibuddin Baba' and he began to beat her and also scorched her. Her in-laws too participated in this torture. The Karekars believed if she did this all earnestly, the hidden treasure buried under the dargah would surface and they would be prosperous. This ritual went on for 50 days and the woman was starved for this period as part of the ritual.

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