On Monday, Sri Lankan police said they had arrested two people in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl who was repeatedly beaten in a ritual they said would drive out an evil spirit.
The two suspects (the woman performing the exorcism and the girl’s mother) were due to appear in court on Monday to hear charges for the girl’s death, which occurred over the weekend in Delgoda, a small town in about 40 km northeast of the capital, Colombo.
According to police spokesman Ajith Rohana, the mother believed her daughter-had been possessed by a demon and took her to the exorcist’s home so that a ritual could be performed to drive out the spirit.
Rohana said the exorcist first put oil on the girl and then started hitting her repeatedly with a cane. When the girl lost consciousness, she was taken to hospital, where she died. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
The woman who performed the ritual on the girl was known in the area for offering such services in recent months and police were investigating whether anyone else had been abused, Rohana said.
Rohana urged the public to be careful with these services, as the girl was not the first to die during such a ritual.