Pulwama girl dies, family hospitalised after ‘food poisoning during exorcism’

Srinagar: A teenage girl died and five others fell ill due to suspected food poisoning when an occultist had come to a house for exorcising ritual in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.
The 15-year-old girl, Rohi Jan, and five others, including her father, mother, the occultist and his assistant, were lying unconscious in the house in Bohu village of Awantipora area on Saturday morning, police and locals said.
They were rushed to a hospital where Rohi was declared brought dead.
The ‘faith healer’, Nazir Ahmad Gojar, had come to the house of Mohammad Shaban Sheikh on Friday night to “exorcise evil” from his son Mudasir Ahmad, the police said.
All the inmates except Mudasir were found unconscious. Police suspect it to be a case of food poisoning.
“The ‘faith healer’ was entertained by Sheikh family with ‘Sufiana music’ and a range of delicacies. The mehfil continued throughout the night. However, on Saturday morning we were shocked to see all the family members, the ‘faith healer’, and a PDD employee unconscious,” a local news agency quoted a local resident as saying.
A police official said that proceedings under section 174 Cr Pc have been initiated in this case, even as post-mortem report will ascertain the cause of the death of the girl
“The family will be questioned once they regain their consciousness. Things will be clear once they speak up. And their cooperation will help us to conduct proper investigations,” the official added.

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