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Three of a family hacked to death in Gumla on witchcraft allegations, 2 relatives held

Murder weapon recovered from the possession of the accused, say police

Our Correspondent Ranchi Published 26.09.21, 12:04 PM
The incident occurred around 9 pm on Saturday.

The incident occurred around 9 pm on Saturday. File picture

Three members of a family were hacked to death in Loto village under Sadar police station in Gumla district, around 100 km from capital Ranchi late on Saturday night on suspicion of witchcraft. They were farmers by profession.

Confirming the incident, Gumla police on Sunday said that two relatives of the deceased family have been held and further investigation into the case is underway. The deceased were identified as Bandhan Oraon, who was in his late 50s, his wife Samri Devi, and their daughter-in-law Basmati Devi. Basmati’s husband works as a labourer in Chennai while her two minor kids, who were sleeping during the incident are safe, said police.


The incident occurred around 9 pm, said police adding that two persons—Bipta Oraon and Julu Oraon—nephews of the elderly couple—were held within hours. Gumla SDPO Manish Chandra Lal said that they have also recovered the murder weapon from their possession.

“Prima facie, the incident seems to be related with witchcraft but we are also probing from all angles. The elderly couple after returning from the market were about to have their dinner when few people came to their house and launched an attack on them. First the elderly couple was hacked to death with a sharp edged tangi (traditional weapon) after which Basmati was killed fearing she would identify the culprits,” he said, adding that the names of Bipta and Julu surfaced during the initial probe after which police promptly nabbed them.

Local sources claimed that Samri used to practice traditional healing (jhad-phuk) and many villagers often visited her for curing of the ailments. “Bipta and Julu were opposed to it. They also had a tiff with the family recently,” said a village man.

Murders related to black magic or witchcraft continue to remain one of the biggest social ills in Jharkhand, mainly in tribal-dominated districts. In Gumla alone, at least over a dozen people were killed due to this in the last year. In February this year, five members of a family were killed in the Kamdara block in Gumla by an angry mob over suspicion of the deceased practicing black magic. Again in August, a 60-year-old Asur woman belong to a primitive tribes group was murdered in Bijapath village under the Chainpur police station area. In December last year, a woman was killed on the same charges in Koenara village under Sadar police station of this district.

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