Kokrajhar, Feb. 20: A village headman accused of practising witchcraft was killed at Samugaon near Mangalian Bazaar in Bijni subdivision of Chirang district in the wee hours today.
Chekon Basumatary, 58, the gaonbura of Samugaon, was attacked with sharp weapons and killed by unidentified men on the suspicion of practising black magic. His body bore multiple injury marks.
Sources said Basumatary was returning home after attending a wedding ceremony in a nearby village around 2am when the assailants attacked him. His body was spotted by some farmers this morning near a field, about 400 metres from his house.
Sources said Basumatary was earlier threatened by a section of villagers who alleged he was practising black magic. Officer-in-charge, Bijni police station, Aditya Prakash, said there had been reports that Basumatary was branded a “witch” by fellow villagers which may have been the cause of the killing.
“An investigation is on and at the initial stage no one has been arrested,” he said.
The killing came close on the heels of the murder of an elderly couple at Tangshigami under Basugaon police station in Chirang district on November 21. The couple, Lakhiram Brahma, 55, and his wife Naleb, 50, were dragged out of their house and killed by a mob for allegedly practising black magic.
The All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu), the apex student organisation of the Bodos, which has been carrying out awareness campaigns against witch-hunting in the Bodo-dominated areas, today organised a rally followed by an awareness meeting in the village.
Senior officials from Bjini, including subdivisional police officer Pranab Kumar Pegu visited the area and participated in the programme.
Superstition has proved to be more deadly and contagious than any other disease in the remote villages of the BTAD area. Though various organisations and civil society are making collective efforts to eradicate witch-hunt, lack of an initiative and strong action from the administration and police are the main hurdles.