75-yr-old commits 'sati' in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Oct 12 (UNI) A 75-year-old woman has allegedly committed sati at this district's Chechar village, about 125 km from here and prohibitory orders were consequently imposed in the village and surrounding areas.

A case was registered under the Anti-Sati Act about 20 hours after last evening's incident.

''Lalmati was not forced into the pyre by villagers,'' said Inspector-General of Police (Raipur Range) Y K S Thakur.

State Women's Commission Member Shatabdi Pandey described the incident as self-immolation and said that the Commission would endeavour to educate people of the area against social evils.

Shivnandan Verma (80) died at the village yesterday afternoon after brief illness.

Since that time his wife Lalmati Bai was adamant that she would commit sati. People endeavoured to pacify her and she calmed down.

After Verma's pyre was lit at about 1900 hrs, people dispersed from the cremation spot for ritual bathing in a nearby pond. At that juncture, Lalmati plunged into the flames.

After she was found missing from home, a search began and her remains were found among the ashes. Lalmati's slippers and some other material was also found at the cremation ground.

Relatives alerted police but Raipur's Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar kept denying the incident. When his seniors confirmed the incident, Mr Kumar left for the spot this evening.

Villagers crowded the site this morning, began worshipping and offering coconuts. Police rushed to the spot and dispersed the villagers. However, eye-witnesses said that people were still worshipping silently and carrying back ash to their homes.

Chechar falls under Kasdol Police Station limits. Additional personnel have been rushed to the spot from other police stations.

A sati temple exists at Pipri village as one Malikram Verma's wife Ekjekbai allegedly committed sati about three decades back at Pipri, near Chechar.

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