A lonely man who later told investigators that he was trying to win back the affections of his estranged wife was arrested for burning her underwear in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, police said on Monday.
Muhammad Ridwan, 38, had been suspected by fellow residents of his apartment block of wanting to burn the building down, reports the Jakarta Post. He was arrested on suspicion of endangering the residents but claimed that he was taking part in a mystic romantic ritual which he thought would improve his chances of a reunion.
The Jakarta Post quotes Tanah Abang precinct detective unit commander, Comr. Widarto, as telling website detik.com that “He believed his wife, who moved out after a spat, would come back to him if he burned her underwear and applied the ashes to his body.”
It seems the domestic incident became more serious when a bottle of kerosine, mistaken for mineral water, was thrown onto the flames by a panicking neighbor. Others caught hold of Ridwan and allegedly beat him about the body before police arrived on the scene.
A prolonged dry season in Indonesia has put many on the alert for fires which have destroyed hundreds of homes already this year.