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Grandma branded witch & axed

In a suspected case of witch-hunt, a young couple hacked to death a 65-year-old woman at Mirzadih village in Bodam, 20km from the city, in the small hours of Monday.

Sukhdev Hansda (25) and wife Rupali (22) have been arrested for murdering his grandmother Masadi Hansda.

Police said a property dispute had broken out between Sukhdev and his uncle and Masadi’s son Chotu Hansda on Sunday evening. During the altercation, the victim had interfered in support of her son.

Chotu revealed that the outraged victim had threatened to “devour (read kill)” Sukhdev and his wife. The couple had then left for home in a huff.

Around midnight, the husband-wife duo returned to Masadi’s house, addressed her as a witch and asked her to come out. As soon as she did, they attacked her with axes. They kept striking at her neck till the elderly woman dropped dead.

Chotu said after the murder, Sukhdev and his wife started screaming that they had killed a witch who would have killed them otherwise.

Officer-in-charge of Bodam police station Vijay Kumar confirmed the case.“We have arrested Sukhdev and his wife. We have seized the murder weapons,” he said.

Chotu, who makes a living as a farmer, said he had never imagined that his nephew would kill his mother just because she scolded him.

“My mother was not a witch. I can never forgive Sukhdev,” he said, adding that Masadi did not have the slightest hint of the couple’s gruesome plan.