Police stopped a 70-year-old woman in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh from proceeding to the cremation ground to commit ‘Sati’,
an outlawed religious practice in which Hindu windows used to immolate themselves on the husband’s funeral pyre.
The police picked up the woman from her residence at Shahbazpur Barkola village just moments before she was about to begin walking with her husband’s body to the cremation site.The police stepped in as the woman had announced she would sit on the pyre of her husband and become the second ‘Sati’ in Banda in 40 years.
The police got her admitted to a government hospital after picking her up from her house.
She was taken to the hospital due to her age and because she will be better guarded and counselled there, the police said.
Calling in reinforcements to control the crowd which had gathered in anticipation of the woman burning on the pyre,
the police ensured the body of the husband Mangi Ram, 75, was cremated in their (police) presence.
Earlier in the day, the arrival of thousands of people in the village within hours of the woman’s announcement alerted the police.
Besides Banda, people from Panna and Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh reached the village in buses and tractor-trolleys.
Many of them began performing religious rituals near the cremation ground, apparently according to the status of a deity to the woman, Savitri, locals said.
Savitri’s eldest son Ram Narayan Yadav said his mother was depressed as his father passed away after a prolonged illness on Monday.
The locals said the arrival of so many people destroyed crops on hundreds of acres of land and the police had to struggle to control the crowd.