Three youths killed a 63-year-old woman in Assam on Monday after suspecting her to be a witch, police said. All three have been arrested. However, according to this report in The Hindustan Times, police have arrested seven people. The incident took place in Bhimajuli village near Biswanath Chariali around noon.
Biswanath superintendent of police Manabendra Rai said the three Karbi youths suspected Adivasi woman Poni Orang of being a witch.
“Anima Ronghanti, 35, who claims to be a goddess, had asked the people to gather at a local temple,” additional superintendent of police Samad Hussain told NDTV. She told them Orang was a witch and would bring bad luck to the village. Orang is an adivasi and a mother of five, NDTV report added.
Representative image. AFP
“Following this, the mob rushed to Orang’s house and dragged her out, took her to a nearby stream, almost stripped her naked and beheaded her in broad daylight,” the ASP was quoted as saying.
“The trio forced Orang out of her house around noon on Monday, took her near a river and killed her. They accused her of being a witch and alleged that it was due to her presence that many people in the village were falling ill,” Rai said.
“Police went to the spot after being informed by villagers and arrested the three. They also recovered the machete used to kill her,” the official said.
Adequate police force has been deployed in the village to ensure that there was no backlash. “The situation is under control now. We have deployed forces in the village so that there is no communal backlash between the Adivasi and Karbi communities,” the police official said.
Witch-hunting is a evil practice, and superstition still exists among some communities in Assam. The government had off late said it would bring an act with more punitive actions to check the menace.
The state government is also planning a special court to conduct trial of cases related to witch-hunting, in which 82 people have died in the last five years.
A draft bill prepared by the state home department proposes punishment ranging between three years to life imprisonment for those found guilty of branding someone a witch and abetting suicide, apart from taking care of the victims.
With IANS inputs