One dead, three injured at the hands of faith healers in GulmiA 64-year-old man was fatally burned and beaten in the name of treatment.
An elderly man died after a faith healer couple burned parts of his body and thrashed him in the name of treatment at Resunga Municipality-1 in Gulmi district on Wednesday.
Three others were also injured due to the beating of the couple.
DSP Purushottam Pandeya at the District Police Office said Ram Bahadur Mukhiya, 64, of Darlamchaur in Isma Rural Municipality-3 died in the incident that he described as “inhuman and shocking”.
“The faith healer couple had been employing similar superstitious rituals in the name of treatment to other people for years,” said Pandeya.
“Mukhia died as the couple branded him with heated iron and steel rods.”
Mukhia’s two sons Hum Bahadur and Krishna and one Topala Damai of Resunga-5 were also injured due to the beating of the faith healers.
“Damai who was seriously injured in the incident was referred to United Mission Hospital in Palpa while Hum Bahadur is being treated at Gulmi District Hospital,” said Pandey.
Krishna sustained minor injuries and did not require a hospital stay.
Pandeya said Mukhia succumbed to injuries inflicted on him by Ram Prasad Shrestha, 38, and his wife Shantila Shrestha, 36.
The Shrestha couple, originally from Malika Rural Municipality-6 in Gulmi, was living at Tindhara in Resunga-1 on rent.
According to Udaya Bahadur Thapa, the ward chief of Resunga-2, the Shrestha couple had taken a local man’s land on lease and built a hut there.
Police handed over Mukhia’s body to the family after carrying out his postmortem at Gulmi District Hospital on Wednesday. He was cremated the same day.
The Shrestha couple were taken into custody after the incident. “Investigation is going on into the incident. A case will be filed against them on murder charge. They will also be tried for spreading superstitious beliefs,” said Pandeya.
The deceased was suffering from severe back pain and had been visiting the Shrestha couple regularly since Saturday.
“They [Shrestha couple] forbade our father from eating on Tuesday evening. They repeatedly burnt different parts of his body with a heated iron rod and severely beat him till midnight,” Hum Bahadur said. “They stopped beating our father only after he fell unconscious. They told us that our father would be fine the next morning. But he was dead the next morning.”
Hum Bahadur said his family had paid the Shrestha couple around Rs 30,000 to treat his father.
Damai, the other victim, said she visited the couple because her thyroid issue was not getting better.
“I started taking medicines for thyroid condition from June last year but I wasn’t getting better. I stopped taking medicines after a few months and visited the Shrestha couple seeking a cure at the recommendation of my neighbours,” said Damai.
She had already paid Rs 11,000 to the couple.
“They beat me and burnt me with heated iron rods and pipes in the name of treatment,” she said.
The Shrestha couple did not let others, except those seeking their service, into the hut. According to the local residents, they did not know what the Shrestha couple was up to.
"We sent a police team to the hut. We found Mukhia dead and three others injured when we reached there,” said Pandeya.