Police prevents glorifying of 'Sati' woman

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Chechar (Chhattisgarh), Oct 15 : Authorities have deployed heavy security in a village in Chhattisgarh to prevent residents from glorifying the 71-year-old woman who immolated herself by jumping into her husband's burning pyre.

Lalmati Verma, 71, of Chechar village, had immolated herself on October 11 after mourners had left the cremation site, becoming a 'Sati'.

Villagers later thronged the funeral site and offered prayers in an act of worship.

Policemen are patrolling the streets of village, which has a temple dedicated to a woman, who became 'Sati' some 40 years' ago. People here are still rooted in the belief that such women should be worshipped.

To put a dampener on Lalmati's worship by the villagers, scores of policemen have been stationed at the funeral site as well.

The residents, who seemed eager to worship Lalmati are now afraid to do so because of the fear of police.

"The villagers had gone and offered flowers and coconuts at the funeral where she was burnt. They started worshipping her like a goddess. Now, the villagers would not do any such thing as they are afraid of the police," said Budhram, aesident.

The police had arrested seven members of Lalmati's family under the Prevention of Sati Act, for not preventing her from self-immolation. They have also threatened strict action against anybody who indulged in worship or glorification of Lalmati.

"The facts that have come to light during the investigations have revealed that the villagers offered prayers at the funeral site. We will take strict action against anybody who indulges in such practices henceforth," said S.K. Mandawi, station house officer (SHO), police station, Kasdol.

The practice of 'Sati', in which a woman burns herself to death on her husband's pyre, began in medieval times when Hindu women chose to kill themselves after their husbands died in battle rather than be taken prisoner by invaders.

'Sati' was banned by British colonial authorities in 1829 but such incidents have been happening from time to time in rural areas, where it is common to find people who revere the practice as the ultimate demonstration of female honor, devotion and piety.

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