Shillong, Aug. 17: Three members of a family were bludgeoned to death last night after being accused of being menshohnoh or cutthroats at Smit village in East Khasi Hills district, around 15km from here.
Yesly Mawthoh,70, his son D. Nongdhar, 30, and Besly Mawthoh, 65, were beaten to death by a mob for allegedly practising witchcraft on Lambha Nongrum, 25, who was left on the bank of the Umiew river on August 14 with critical injuries.
According to police, on August 14 night, Nongrum was assaulted at Smit village. The next morning, villagers found him lying unconscious, and he was shifted to Nazareth Hospital.
Though the cause of his assault could not be ascertained, villagers suspected that the incident was a case of witchcraft, the police added.
Menshohnoh are people who are said to worship the supernatural being U Thlen (believed to be a huge serpent requiring appeasement by human sacrifice), in the hope of acquiring wealth.
Around 9 last night, the victims, along with four others, had gone to Nongrum’s house when a mob followed them. The mob allegedly asked Nongrum’s relatives to hand over Yesly, his son and Besly to them. Subsequently, the three were beaten to death.
When a team from Madanrting police station arrived on the scene, the mob of around 2,000 tried to prevent the policemen from taking away the bodies of the trio by pelting stones at the security forces.
In the melee, four policemen, including the officer-in-charge of Madanrting police station C.M. Ranee, were injured. The police also resorted to firing teargas shells to control the mob. The situation was finally brought under control around midnight and the police could retrieve the bodies which were then taken to Shillong civil hospital for post-mortem.
A police official of East Khasi Hills, while terming the incident as a “dastardly act”, said those involved in the killings would be brought to book.
The district administration has ordered a magisterial inquiry, to be headed by additional district magistrate D.M. Wallang, to probe the reasons which led to the murder of the trio.
A meeting of villagers from seven localities under Smit was organised this morning to take stock of the situation. The meeting decided that village elders would meet Nongrum in hospital to ascertain the facts which supposedly led to his abandonment on the bank of the Umiew.
Elders of the village also alleged that last night policemen had damaged around 30 vehicles, including cabs and auto trucks, which were parked at Smit village.