A Nashik court held 11 people guilty of killing two sisters on suspicion of being possessed by evil spirits and sentenced them to life, in the first conviction under Maharashtra’s anti-superstition and black magic act that came into force in 2013. District and sessions judge U M Nandeshwar also convicted the 11 people of murder under section 302 of IPC and awarded the life imprisonment yesterday.
Special public prosecutor Ajay Misar said today this is the first conviction and punishment in Maharashtra under the Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act.
“Under this Act, they have been sentened to jail term ranging from five to ten years,” he said.
According to prosecution, the convicts had in 2014 beaten to death two sisters – Budhibai Dore and Kashibai Veer – in Take Harsh village in tribal-dominated Igatpuri tehsil in Nashik district.
The 11 convicts are – Bachhibai Narayan Khadke (42), Laxman Budha Nirgude (30), Narayan Shiva Khadke (42), Waman Hanumanta Nirgude (40), Kisan Budha Nirgude (39), Hari Budha Nirgude (30), Sanibai Budha Nirgude (65), all residents of village Take Harsh; Bugibai Mahadu Veer (35), Mahadu Krishna Veer (40), both residents of Naseda Veerwadi, Mokhada in Palghar district; Govind Punaji Dore (31) and Kashinath Punaji Dore (31), residents of Dandwal in Palghar district.
As per the prosecution case, Bachhibai Khadke and Veer told villagers that the sisters were possessed by evil spirits, which caused Sanibai Nirgude to remain childless. They also told the villagers that Budhibai’s daughter Rahibai Pingale helped her mother and aunt.
On October 30, 2014, the accused severely beat up the sisters in order to drive away the evil spirits from them, following which the sisters died. Rahibai, however, managed to escape.
The sisters’ bodies were later buried by the accused, the prosecution said.
Later, Rahibai lodged a complaint with the police. Apart from the Black Magic Act, the accused were booked under IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.