Police on Tuesday arrested 16 people in connection with Monday’s beheading of a 65-year old woman, in No. 1 Bhimajuli village in Assam’s Sonitpur district. Nine of those arrested were women.
The police said that the victim, one Purni Orang, was beheaded by a mob instigated by another woman — Anima Ronghangpi — who claimed to be possessed by Goddess Lakshmi. Ronghangpi declared Purni Orang a “witch” and ordered her execution. The mob was led by Ronghangpi’s husband Biliram Bey. They, along with two others, had been arrested within hours of the crime on Monday afternoon.
No. 1 Bhimajuli is a remote village close to the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary under Biswanath subdivision of Sonitpur district. It has been ravaged by several rounds of violence by NDFB militants in recent years.
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Reports said the mob dragged Purni Orang from her house by her hair and presented her before Anima Ronghangpi on the riverbank. Ronghangpi asked the crowd to behead the woman. The victim’s husband, Mukul Orang, tried to protest, but his pleas went unheeded by the mob.