Rajasthan Police have registered a case of rape against a self-styled occultist hailing from Jind, Haryana. The suspect is alleged to have raped a married woman in the presence of her husband who was blindfolded during the criminal act.

A team of Rajasthan Police is stationed in Jind while on the lookout for this ‘baba’ for the past three days. The suspect, along with his family, is absconding.

In the complaint registered with the police, the husband of the victim said that he had met with the so-called tantrik (occult practitioner), namely Ashok Bhagat, three years ago in the Balaji Temple situated at the Loco Colony of Jind (in Rajasthan, Lord Hanuman rather than Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati is referred to as Balaji). Bhagat told him allegedly that he was possessed by an evil spirit. The victim’s husband believed in the tantrik and kept coming back to the latter for ‘exorcism’ again and again.

The complainant has said that he got married some 10 months ago. Days after the marriage, his wife fell ill. So, he took the wife to the tantrik, after the fraud ‘god man’ assured him that his wife would be treated as well. The tantrik called the couple to the Balaji Temple of Mehandipur.

On 18 June, the victim and her husband accompanied about 70-80 odd devotees to the temple. There, during a secluded session of fraudulent exorcism, the ‘god man’ allegedly raped the woman.

The complainant said that the modus operandi of the fraud baba was to call his disciples one by one for ‘exorcism’. After the victim and her husband entered the room, the tantrik told him that if the couple indulged in intercourse before him, it would cast away the ‘evil spirit’. However, after the man was blindfolded, the tantrik took his wife away and raped her. The husband grew suspicious after a while and raised a din.

The police lodged a case of rape against the tantrik at the Toda Bhim Thana of Karauli district in Rajasthan on 12 July.

The Women’s Commission of Haryana has taken cognisance of the incident and urged the DSP at the Jind Police Headquarters to take appropriate action against the tantrik. She said it was worth an inquiry why it took the police so long to spring into action, as the complaint is quite old. An officer from the commission will, hence, monitor the progress of the case. She said that a “Zero FIR” could be registered in a police station anywhere in the country.

A Zero FIR is a first information report that can be filed at a police station regardless of whether the alleged incident of crime had taken place within the jurisdictional area of the police station.