31 Oct 2010

12 self-immolate in bizarre ritual in Peru

Yahoo! News - Indo-Asian News Service June 7, 2009

Lima, June 7 (IANS) Twelve members of a Christian sect in Peru were killed after they reportedly set themselves on fire in a bizarre religious ritual, EFE news agency reported Saturday.

The gruesome ritual of the Nueva Esperanza (New Hope) community was discovered by police in Amazonas province following a complaint from the provincial governor, Wilder Rojas, who accused the Adventist congregation of trying to kidnap him.

When the police arrived on the scene, they found a man and his nine-year-old daughter being consumed by flames. The police tried but could not save the duo.

In another room, they found the charred remains of another 10 people, the daily Peru 21 said.

The police arrested the leader of the sect, Pedro Lopez Lancha, together with another three members of his church.

Lancha told police that the burned bodies belonged to criminals who set themselves on fire to wash away their sins.

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Comment -  June 7, 2009  by Perry Bulwer

The title of this article says that 12 people set themselves on fire. However, the article also says a father and his nine year old daughter were among the victims. I doubt very much that the 9 year old girl set herself on fire. No 9 year old child in their right mind, and not influenced by religious indoctrination, would purposely set themselves on fire. The adults in that group may have committed suicide, but that girl was murdered! Murdered because of her father's religious beliefs. This should be a warning to those who insist that parents have the right to indoctrinate their children into their religion, but I doubt they will heed it. Religion-based abuses and crimes against children are almost always perpetrated by adults claiming the religious freedom to do so, while they ignore the religious freedom of their children.

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