An 80-year-old man was allegedly buried alive in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district after relatives suspected him of practising “witchcraft”, authorities said. Eight people, including three of his nephews, have been arrested under Sections 302, 342 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code so far in connection to the case.
The body of the deceased, Moris Margnar, resident of Nongdisogn village, under Nongstoin police station, was exhumed on Monday from a pit and sent for post-mortem. “The accused suspected that he was practising witchcraft on his niece, who had been unwell for a long time,” said Herbert Lyngdoh, SP, West Khasi Hills.
Lyngdoh said further investigations were on. “The accused tied him up and forcibly buried him alive. We were later informed by the village headman about the incident — we have arrested all involved. The victim was buried in an area called Pordidoh — the body was buried in a pit, covered with stones, and a cross engraved with the letters, RIP,” he said.
Condemning the incident, Meghalaya Home Minister Lakhmen Rymbui said it was very important to sensitise people about superstitions. “It is important to raise awareness, and sensitise people — which the government has been doing,” he said.
The practice of witch-hunting, or branding people as ‘witches’ and torturing and killing them, is prevalent in some parts of Assam and Meghalaya in the Northeast.
Last week, a woman and a man in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district were killed by their neighbours on suspicion of practising “black magic”. Nine persons were arrested in connection to the case.
While Meghalaya does not have an anti-witch hunting law, Assam passed the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act — which implements stringent punishment and fine for the practice — in 2018.
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