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Saturday, 29 August 2009

Soothsayers arrested for poisoning children after predicting their death

Picture: Mallika, grieving mother of Vinodh (child poisoned by soothsayer)

A soothsayer couple poisoned 50 goats in a village, and then six children to get 'mystical powers'.

Soothsayers arrested for poisoning children after predicting their death
30-08-2009
ATTUR (Salem): The police have arrested a soothsayer couple for poisoning children after predicting their death and seized 250 grams of rat poison from their house in Palaya Udayampatti village.

Six otherwise healthy children, aged between three and seven years, had died since January 2008. The deaths created panic in the village and many villagers moved out and settled elsewhere, dreading the “strange illness.” Medical teams that visited the village found no symptoms of any disease in the community.

Those who remained in the village grew suspicious about soothsayer Perumayee (35), particularly after the death of three-year-old Priyadarshini in April 2009. She had succumbed to severe stomach pain. Just before her death, two other children, Vinodh and Dinesh, both aged seven years, had died of similar symptoms.

The woman soothsayer used to “predict” the deaths of children, all eldest ones in their families, at the village temple. “Whenever she claimed that a boy or a girl in a particular house would die, the same would occur in another six to seven hours,” said a sobbing Mallika, mother of Vinodh.

Their suspicions were further strengthened when Priyadarshini, before dying, told her mother that she was forcefully fed sweet rice by Perumayee and her husband. The girl’s father Subramani and Vinodh’s father Chinnasamy preferred a complaint with Attur police.

The Attur police registered cases under Section 174 Cr.P.C and sent the bodies of Priyadarshini and Vinodh for post-mortem and their viscera to the Forensic Scientific Laboratory at Coimbatore. The reports stated that they “appeared to have died of phorate poisoning, which is a poisonous organo phospherous insecticide.” The report on the death of Dinesh is awaited.

Perumayee and her husband surrendered before the Akkichettipalayam Village Administrative Officer on Friday. They are reported to have confessed that they had poisoned two children as they thought the “sacrifices” would help them gain mystical powers. They have been remanded to judicial custody.

The cause of death of Gokulraj (4), Jayakumar (7) and Suershkumar (2), all on January 20, 2008 could not be ascertained as their parents cremated the bodies without informing the police.

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