A case was registered and three persons were arrested in Karnataka’s Koppal after a minor boy was allegedly lured to strip naked and perform a puja to clear his father’s debts, the police said, adding that the accused also shared a video of the same on social media.
Officers identified the accused as Sharanappa Talawara, Virupanagowda and Sharanappa Ojanahalli, all residents of Koppal and acquaintances of the teenage victim.
Though the incident took place in June, a complaint in this regard was filed with the police on Sunday after the boy’s parents came to know about the video, the police said.
According to officers, the trio had approached the boy’s parents to send him along for Jal Jeevan Mission works at Hubballi. “They had secured a contract for the work and promised a job for my son,” the boy’s father said in a complaint.
The father had also shared details about the family’s financial difficulties and debt with the accused. “They misused this fact and convinced my son to strip naked, assuring him that none of the lenders would seek repayment of loans once the puja was complete. Moreover, they told him that the family would also grow rich,” according to the complaint.
Convinced by their claims, the boy agreed to strip, smear himself with vibhuti (holy ash) and stood with his eyes closed and a garland around his neck, the police said. In the video, the accused are also seen cutting a lemon and squeezing it on the boy’s head. Once the ritual was complete, the trio threatened to murder the boy’s father if he disclosed the incident to anyone else.
The police have filed an FIR under various sections of the IPC, Information Technology Act and the Juvenile Justice Act.