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Indian Woman Arrested for Using ‘Sorcery’ to Cure Covid-19

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Hajira Beevi, 47, lives in Cheranalloor, a suburb of Kochi city in the state of Kerala, India, on the banks of the Periyar River. She was arrested by the local police on Thursday after being caught performing “sorcery” in an attempt to cure Covid-19, otherwise known as coronavirus.

A report in The Hindu says the native of Cheranalloor was arrested from her residence following a complaint. A police official said, “Hajira has a history of involving in sorcery activities” and that she claims to “cure diseases by chanting incantations and sprinkling holy water.” The complaint was lodged against the alleged sorceress after a video of her practicing “sorcery” - claiming her occult practices can “cure Covid-19.”

The Significance of Spirituality in India

The famous 1300-years-old temple of Lord Shiva at East Cheranalloor is one of the 108 Shiva temples and 108 Durga temples created for the well-being and prosperity of the people in Kerala. According to folklore, the sage “ Parashurama” installed the idol of Shiva in the Treta Yuga and because the Lord is manifested in his ascetic form at this shrine “rituals” with fragrant flowers and incense sticks is forbidden.

Thanumalayan or Sthanumalayan Temple, India. (saiko3p /Adobe Stock)

Thanumalayan or Sthanumalayan Temple, India . ( saiko3p /Adobe Stock)

Amidst this deeply spiritual environment, the accused will appear in court on Friday. According to a report on Desi Babu , the accused was known to be engaged in similar practices to “cure ailments” and with the onset of Covid-19 Miss Hajira started handing out medicines “like some powders and solutions,” said the police.

Sorcery and Spirituality

Miss Hajira Beevi has been charged under IPC Section 420 for “Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property and 269 (Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life” for having offered a “cure to diseases by chanting incantations and sprinkling holy water.”

On this first charge, her defense lawyer might refer to an event last year which aimed to address the waves of violence, corruption and crime in the Colombian city, Buenaventura, by launching “holy water from a helicopter.“

According to a report in  UPI, Monsignor Rubén Dario Jaramillo Montoya, bishop of Buenaventura, told a local radio station “we want to exorcise all those demons that are destroying our port.” So, Miss Beevi has is no way offended any of the 19.9 million Catholics in India, representing around 1.55% of the population.

Statue of Mother Teresa in the chapel of the Mother House, Kolkata, India. The statue was made in the pose in which the Mother prayed. (zatletic /Adobe Stock)

Statue of Mother Teresa in the chapel of the Mother House, Kolkata, India. The statue was made in the pose in which the Mother prayed. ( zatletic /Adobe Stock)

And it is very unlikely Miss Beevi offended local followers of Shivaism, which is a nature religion in which followers perform rituals in alignment and coordination with “subtle beings and supernatural forces,” and teach that “Shiva rules magic and the occult.” It was only on July 19 Times of India instructed the Indian public on how to use six mantras to invoke Shiva, who they promise will help “protect us from diseases.”

A Case of Misunderstanding?

If Miss Beevi is imprisoned, than that also brings into question all the leaders and followers of the India Institute of Occult Science , who teach the public: “ Numerology, Palmistry, Rune Reading, Reiki, Tarot, Coffee Cup Reading, Graphology, Angel Card Reading and Lama-Fera “an energy healing system” practiced over the centuries in the Buddhist monasteries of the Himalayas.”

Since it appears that many members of Indian society practice some form of “rituals” to protect them from diseases, what has Miss Beevi done wrong? The answer to this question becomes clearer when we consider the person who videoed and reported her was a 14 year old boy, who was rightfully terrified being exposed to an adult ritual which he didn’t understand, or have explained to him.

Yagya, a ritual in Hinduism. (swapan banik/Adobe Stock)

Yagya, a ritual in Hinduism . ( swapan banik /Adobe Stock)

On the second charge, for having broken IPC Section 420, “any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life,” it’s worth remembering that Miss Beevi was caught selling “cures for coronavirus,” which is the very opposite of acting to spread the disease.

Top Image: A woman has been accused of practicing sorcery to cure Covid-19 in India. Source: Anna Jurkovska / Adobe Stock

By Ashley Cowie

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