Villagers attacked a team of policemen and damaged their vehicles when they intervened to save two persons — accused of practising witchcraft — from being lynched on Tuesday. About a dozen policemen were injured in the incident that took place in a village under Town police station area of Jharkhand’s Gumla district. Those injured included a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and the officer-in-charge. Five people were arrested for allegedly trying to kill Bandhna Oraon and his son Parshuram Oraon, and attacking the police.
The victims and their family members have been shifted from the village and security personnel have been deployed, the police said. According to the police, the residents of Asani Tetartoli village were worried over four deaths in a month. On Sunday, a meeting was held during which the villagers discussed the possibility of a local’s involvement in witchcraft. “The villagers went to Bijupara in Ranchi district the next day and consulted an oracle, who gave them descriptions that matched with the victims. The oracle claimed that the two were involved in witchcraft which led to the deaths,” said DSP (Headquarters) Indra Mani Chowdhary.
On Monday evening, another meeting was held during which it was decided that the Oraons needed to be killed. Parshuram somehow got a whiff and slipped out of the village and approached the police. The police said they wanted to go to the spot immediately but were scared of reprisal. “Parshuram went to the village in the morning, while we followed him. As soon as he reached, he was tied up along with his father. The mob pounced on them and hit them with axes. When we intervened, the villagers turned their ire on us. But we managed to save the two,” said Chowdhary. Officer-in-charge Rajesh Kumar and several constables were injured in stone-pelting.