A woman and a man in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district were killed by their neighbours on suspicion of practising “black magic”, police said on Friday. Nine persons have been arrested and efforts are on to nab six more accused, they said.
The incident occurred after a kangaroo court in the district’s Rohimapur village decided that Ramawati Halua (50) and Bijoy Gour (28), who belonged to Adivasi community, were involved in “black magic”. Subsequently, late on Wednesday night, the two were attacked by their neighbours and killed, police said.
Karbi Anglong SP Debojit Deuri said, “It was a case of witch-hunting — as we have found out till now in the investigation. Nine persons have been arrested.”
“The perpetrators were known to the victim. The arrested persons confessed that they believed that the two deceased were spreading disease in the village and bringing misfortune,” Deuri said.
Sharp weapons were used in the attack, which have been recovered. They also burnt the bodies of the victims. “The mortal remains of the victims were collected from the pyre and soil samples from the assault site were collected in presence of the Executive Magistrate,” a police officer said.
In 2001, Assam Police had introduced Project Prahari, a community project against killing of women after branding them “witches”. According to state government data till December 2019, a total of 107 persons have been killed in “witch-hunting” incidents in the state since 2011. The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, which implements stringent punishment and fine for branding and killing people after branding them as “witches”, is in effect in the state since 2018.
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