PAGE 2 De­ceased tod­dlers buried af­ter vil­lage ex­or­cism

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

On the out­skirts of Yan­gon, a mys­tic claimed he was rid­ding res­i­dents of bad spir­its in a rit­ual that in­volved beat­ing to death three chil­dren as their fam­i­lies looked on. The vic­tims were buried over the week­end, while po­lice ar­rested the prac­ti­tioner.

THREE in­fants were beaten to death in a vil­lage on the out­skirts of Yan­gon by a man pur­port­ing to be a healer, who told their fam­i­lies they were pos­sessed by evil spir­its.

The mys­tic al­legedly punched and kicked two tod­dlers and an eight­month-old baby to death dur­ing ex­or­cism rit­u­als last week, ac­cord­ing to po­lice and rel­a­tives. Lieu­tenant Ma­jor Kyaw Naing Soe said the “ex­or­cist” put the vil­lagers into a trance, then killed the chil­dren as they watched.

“On the night of the 18th, the three­year-old boy was beaten to death and the cul­prit threw him in the Twante Canal,” he told AFP. “On his re­turn, he con­tin­ued to beat the three young girls and two of them were killed.”

U Tun Naing, the un­cle of the dead boy, said the vil­lagers had lost their senses af­ter the ex­or­cist fed them “blessed” wa­ter, then made them stand in a cir­cle as he chanted and cast spells.

“Be­cause of what he did ev­ery­one was out of their mind,” U Tun Naing told AFP, his eyes still glazed.

“I still feel afraid of some­thing in my mind. I don’t un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing ... Some peo­ple have gone to other mys­tics to re­lease them­selves from the curse.”

Only a hand­ful of peo­ple at­tended the dead boy’s fu­neral on Oc­to­ber 22 in Twante, a town south of Myan­mar’s com­mer­cial cap­i­tal. U Tun Naing said most fam­ily mem­bers were still too scared to show their faces in pub­lic.

Young novice monks cov­ered their noses with their ma­roon robes to block the smell as the tiny body was car­ried past on a stretcher, be­fore be­ing buried in an un­marked grave.

A po­lice re­port said the bod­ies of the dead chil­dren – a boy, three, a twoyear-old girl and the baby – showed ev­i­dence of hav­ing been punched, kicked and stamped on.

Health work­ers alerted au­thor­i­ties af­ter the fa­ther of an­other lit­tle girl who had been beaten brought her to the hos­pi­tal cov­ered in bruises.

Po­lice have charged the “ex­or­cist” with mur­der, griev­ous bod­ily harm and hid­ing a dead body. He is be­ing held in In­sein prison. –

PHOTO: AFP

Photo: AFP

Hos­pi­tal work­ers carry the body of three-year-old Ko Nay La Linn, a vic­tim of an ex­or­cism rit­ual, for burial at a pub­lic ceme­tery in Twante, Yan­gon, on Oc­to­ber 22.

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