Horrific details have emerged in the case of murder of two children allegedly by their grandmother and father in a bid to “rid of evil spirits” in Bathinda’s Kotfatta village, police said on Thursday. The victims — Ranjodh Singh, 5, and his sister Anamika, 3 — were being tortured for five days since last Saturday when a religious ceremony was started by their grandmother, Nirmal Kaur, who is a self-declared ‘tantric’ or exorcism expert, in the house.
Nirmal’s sister Prem Lata, a resident of Ludhiana, is reportedly suffering from a mental ailment, while her daughter Amandeep Kaur doesn't have any child; and Nirmal believed “evil spirits” in the two children were responsible for this. Superintendent of police Gurmeet Singh said she had been visiting various religious places. “She went to a dera in Faridkot district. She took her sister to a ‘godman’ in Kalanwali in Haryana too.”
Prem Lata was in the house on Saturday when the rituals started but was taken away by her family on Sunday, while two of Nirmal’s daughters were also in the house during these days.
Jaspreet Singh, 21, an uncle of the deceased, said: “My mother started the ceremony by burning clay lamps. (Nirmal and the children’s father, Kulwinder Singh, both arrested) beat the children with whatever they could find. Such was the scene inside the house that all of us were made to drink urine of my mother who also drank liquor while doing all this.”
Police also detained for questioning the mother of the children, Rozy, and four so-called godmen who were brought in by Mukhtyar Singh, the grandfather of the children, on Wednesday. But the parents of the children’s mother staged a protest at police station demanding that she shouldn't be booked in the case. Meanwhile, post-mortem revealed that the kids died of strangulation, and not of electric shock as was earlier reported.
Jaspreet said he had approached several people, including some family members, to intervene and save the children.
“On Wednesday morning, I was sent out of the house by mother forcibly. Sensing trouble, I called my father to help and bring the children out. I heard their screams but they went silent after some time. By the evening, my father also reached the house with four religious persons from Deon village to intervene. We entered the house, but the children had already died while Kulwinder was beating his wife. As I tried to save her, he hit me with sticks,” he said.
Mukhtyar, who works in Bathinda cantonment, said, “I had objected to the religious ceremony at the house and told my wife that instead of this, Prem Lata should be taken to a doctor. But they didn't listen to me, so I had left the house.”