A woman sarpanch in Punjab’s Moga district beat a sickly 13-year-old girl to death while allegedly trying to exorcise an evil spirit on Wednesday.
Sarpanch Pal Kaur of Bhinder Kalan village told the parents of Veerpal Kaur, 13, at the Bawria Samaj dharamshala that an evil spirit had possessed their daughter.
Veerpal’s parents, who are from Manawan village in the district, had brought her to the dargah of Baba Gugga Jahar Peer near the dharamshala to pray for her health.
Pal Kaur, who owes allegiance to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, started thrashing the girl in the presence of her parents and villagers, police said.
A police official said, “Other panchayat members requested Pal Kaur to spare the girl, but to no avail. Veerpal repeatedly asked for water, but the sarpanch refused to provide it.”
Villagers claimed Pal Kaur had been practicing sorcery for the last 10 years.
Police reached Bhinder Kalan after being informed about the incident over phone. The police and villagers rushed Veerpal to a hospital, where doctors declared her dead on arrival. The body was handed over to her parents after the post-mortem examination.
Veerpal’s father Malkit Singh, an agricultural labourer, said, “My daughter was studying in class 7 at Government High School, Manawan. She was unwell for the past several years and we had been bringing her to the dargah every month for treatment. I feel ashamed of myself and feel guilty of having caused her death.”
Moga senior superintendent of police Surjit Singh Grewal said Pal Kaur, her husband Darbara Singh and two others were booked on charges of murder and arrested.