9-year-old girl dies after being beaten during the “exorcism” in Sri Lanka


Police in Sri Lanka said Monday they had arrested two people in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl who was repeatedly beaten during a ritual they believed would drive away 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 indict the girl’s death, which occurred over the weekend in Delgoda, a small town about 40 km northeast of the capital Colombo, took place.

Sri Lankan judge Wasantha Ramanayake (right) and police officers inspect outside a house where a 9-year-old girl was preserved to death on Sunday, February 28, 2021 in Delgoda, Sri Lanka.

Sudath Pubudu Keerthi / AP

According to police spokesman Ajith Rohana, the mother believed her daughter was possessed by a demon and took her to the exorcist’s house so that a ritual could be performed to drive the ghost away.

Rohana said the exorcist first applied oil to the girl and then repeatedly hit her with a stick. When the girl passed out, she was taken to a hospital where she died. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

The woman who performed the ritual on the girl had been known in the area for the past few months for offering such services, and police are investigating whether anyone else had been molested, Rohana said.

Rohana urged the public to be careful with such services, as the girl was not the first to die during such a ritual.

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