A woman was allegedly forced to survive on minimal food for around 50 days by her husband for finding a 'hidden treasure' on the advice of a self-proclaimed godman in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, police said on Wednesday.
The ordeal unfolded last year at Shegaon village in Chimur tehsil, police said.
"The woman had got married in August 2018. A self- proclaimed godman had advised the woman's husband and her in- laws that they would get 'hidden treasure' if she is starved and made to perform certain rituals. From the first day of her marital life, they started harassing the woman by forcing her to perform vedic rituals on a tortoise, among other things," an official of Shegaon police station said.
"She was physically and mentally tortured and forced to survive on very small quantity of food for 50 days. During that time, they also made her perform 'puja' daily from 2.45 am till dawn. Her in-laws would thrash her if she committed any mistake during the rituals," he added.
According to the official, her mobile phone was also snatched by them to snap her communication with parents.
"However, her father suspected that something was amiss and visited her house. He was shocked to find his daughter in dire condition. Thereafter, he took her along to his house, where she narrated her ordeal," the official added.
After coming to know about the incident, the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (Maharashtra Blind faith Eradication Committee) approached the police and sought action against the woman's husband, in-laws and others.
A complaint was lodged on Tuesday and the woman's husband and the self-proclaimed godman were arrested on Wednesday, S P Borkute, assistant police inspector (API) of Shegaon police station, said.
"The duo was booked under section 498 (A) (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and under various sections of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013," the API said.
They will be produced before a local court on Thursday, Borkute said, adding that further investigation into the case is on.