Though deity culture of Himachal Pradesh depicts unique traditions and culture of the state but it’s also a fact many unscrupulous people also try to exploit religious faith of people for their personal gains.

In this incident dozens of villagers assaulted an eighty years old lady terming her a sorcerer, speaks volumes about sinful use of religious practices.

Though the incident had reportedly occurred on November 6, but police swung into action only after videos of the assault went viral on social media and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had directed the police to take stern action in this matter taking serious view of the incident.

In the video villagers , reportedly devotees led by Gur of a local deity were seen beating and parading the old lady Raj Dei ,a resident of Samahal under Gahar panchayat of Sarkaghat sub-division of Mandi district. It was reported ” her face was blackened with ink, shoes tied to her neck and her tresses were cut”.  

Ajay Kuamr son-in-law of the victim in his complaint to the police said, “On November 6, dozens of people entered house of Raj Dei ,assaulted humiliated and paraded her in the village on the instruction of the Gur of the deity and attempted to burn her house.”  

A very disturbing part of this episode is alleged misuse of religious faith of a local deity and reported pressure on local police for avoiding police action, though the police have denied this.

Daughter of the victim Tripta accused , “The culprits had also prepared a pyre to burn my mother but she was identified by a bus conductor who saved her and informed us; in fact the accused assaulted my mother terming her a sorcerer under the garb of instructions of the deity as certain people in the villagers had been trying to grab our ancestral property and had attacked her in the past too.”

The CPM and several social organizations have strongly condemned the incident terming it an “uncivilized criminal act”. Condemning the incident CPM state secretariat member Kushal Bhardwaj has demanded stern action against the culprits and said CPM would hold a protest demonstration to condemn the incident, on Monday in the district.

National Executive Member of People’s Science Movement Joginder Walia said,” This incident is a blot on civilized society where certain people have used the religious faith of a deity to assault an eight years old lady to grab her property .”

He said, “There is an urgent need to expose such people who are using religious faith for their personal gains to justify serious crimes under the garb of deity culture.”

SP Mandi Gurdev Chand Sharma said, “Twenty-one persons have been arrested in this case under sections 147, 148, 452, 435 and 437 of IPC.”

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