TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

Devil worship echo in Shillong

Shillong, May 12: The arrest of five youths, who were allegedly practising “devil worship” in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills district on Saturday, is not an isolated case. There are indicators that the Satanic cult advocates are prevalent in the Meghalaya capital as well.

This has prompted the administration to solicit the co-operation of and seek more information from localities and churches on the alleged practice.

Five alleged “devil worshippers” were released on bail yesterday after they were arrested on Saturday from Upper Chandmari locality, Tura.

The five youths, aged above 18 years and studying in Classes X and XII, were residents of the Ringre Gittim locality.

“We have received information that the incident in Tura has a link with Shillong,” East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal told reporters today. It is just that such cases in Shillong go unreported, he indicated.

Sources said even within the state capital, the alleged practice of devil worship has been taking place for quite some time.

The sources added that some churches have also discussed, officially and non-officially, about the occurrence of the practise

When asked about the above allegation, Goyal said, unlike Tura, so far, no one has ever approached the administration with a specific complaint against any individual or a group.

In Tura, the five youths were arrested while they were hanging around in a graveyard.

The police were alerted based on a complaint lodged by the Upper Chandmari graveyard secretary Nikhil T. Sangma.

The alleged devil worshippers were standing and praying in a graveyard at the time of their arrest.

At the same time, Goyal said the administration has been receiving inputs from its own machinery about the alleged practice.

However, whatever inputs have come so far, Goyal said they were not “actionable inputs”.

Maintaining that the scale of the alleged practice in the state capital was unknown, the deputy commissioner said it was not necessary that the same should be treated as a law and order issue.

“Although the law is there, we need to work out a strategy, along with members of civil society, including the church groups, to find a solution,” he added.

Today, Goyal sent letters to elders of localities and church groups within the state capital soliciting their co-operation to maintain vigil, and to share inputs on the alleged practice of devil worship.

The locality elders and church groups were also assured of support from the district administration in case help was required to tackle the alleged practise.

The localities were particularly urged to keep a close vigil on graveyards, as the alleged devil worshippers are believed to be using the cemeteries for their rendezvous.

Earlier this month, West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi issued a ban on the practice in the entire district.

Official sources said even the state government has sought a report from Bakshi on the reported arrest of the five youths.

The government will also initiate steps to ensure that youths are prevented from following such practices, the sources said.