A woman died under mysterious circumstances on Sunday after she was subjected to a ritual to ward off evil spirit in Pandikoil near here.

The police said Kalaivani (31), a resident of Vadipatti, had developed illicit relationship with Agni (39) of the same area a few years ago. Last month, she eloped with Agni along with her 14-year-old son. She had taken refuge at the house of one Azhagar of Valayankulam near Perungudi for the past three weeks. There she had fallen sick and was taken to a local clinic where the doctor diagnosed her with anaemia. Though she required medical treatment, the accused took her to a temple in Karuppayoorani where a ritual was performed to drive away the supposed evil spirit that possessed her.

Later, when Vadipatti police came looking for Kalaivani in Valayankulam, based on a complaint lodged by her mother, they came to know of the incident and admitted the victim to Government Rajaji Hospital where she died of illness on Sunday, the police said. As part of the ritual, her child was also branded on his leg and was forced to tonsure his head.

The Perungudi police have arrested Agni and Azhagar. A woman priestess Shankarammal (65) was arrested. A case of suspicious death and attempt to murder has been registered.

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