A woman and a man were killed by neighbours on suspicion of being witches in Karbi Anglong district of Assam Wednesday night. Nine persons have been arrested, police said Friday. Efforts are on to nab six other accused.
Ramawati Halua (50) and Bijoy Gour (28), both belonging to the Adivasi community and residents of Rohimapur village, were attacked by their neighbours on the intervening night of September 30 and October 1 and killed, police said. A kangaroo court in the village had decided that the two were involved in practicing “black magic”. Sharp weapons were used in the attack, which have been recovered. The attackers burnt the bodies too. “Mortal remains of the victims collected from the burning pyre as well as soil samples from the assault site were collected in presence of Executive Magistrate,” a police official said.
Debojit Deuri, SP of Karbi Anglong, told The Indian Express, “It was a case of witch-hunting — according to preliminary investigation. Nine persons have been arrested.”
“The perpetrators were known to the victim. They planned and killed them. The arrested persons confessed that they believed that the two deceased were spreading disease in village and bringing misfortune to the village,” Deuri added.
In 2001, Assam police had introduced Project Prahari, a community project by the police against killing of women after branding them as witches, a social evil that has plagued parts of the state for decades.
According to government data till December last year, 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.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines