Sorcery casts spell on village - Cats 'sacrificed', brothers forced to commit suicide

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By RIPUNJOY DAS Dibrugarh
  • Published 25.04.07
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April 25: If you thought superstition about cats was limited to stopping and saying a prayer whenever a furry feline crossed someone’s path, think again.

Practitioners of witchcraft in a village not far from Dibrugarh town “sacrificed” as many as 30 cats last month after pronouncing these harmless pets guilty of impeding the progress of society. Worse still, some greedy village sorcerers allegedly misled two gullible siblings who had gone to them for help to commit suicide.

The only ray of hope for Madhupur Baroghoria village, under Barbaruah police station, is Biswajyoti Chungkrang. The youth has formed a 15-member group to campaign against witchcraft in his village and its surrounding areas.

“Villagers turn to sorcerers for help whenever there is a problem, be it a petty squabble within the family or a property dispute. These quacks forced two brothers to commit suicide recently, which is as serious as it gets. The administration should take urgent steps to wipe out the menace of witchcraft. We are ready to co-operate,” Biswajyoti said.

The two brothers, Abhiman and Debananda Chungkrang, were allegedly goaded into ending their lives. The motive was property.

Biswajyoti is now facing threats for trying to expose the people responsible for the twin suicides.

Madhupur Baroghoria has a population of around 400, most of them impoverished Misings. The gaonburah (headman) of the village, Sashi Kaman, has been allegedly ignoring complaints about the increasing dependence of villagers on practitioners of witchcraft.

“Youths of our village have been urging him to bring the issue to the notice of the administration. But the gaonburah believes he will be cursed if he goes to the civil administration or the police for help. We are trying to end the menace, but are being pressured to give up the fight,” Biswajyoti said.

Several government, semi-government and non-government agencies have ostensibly tried but failed to enlighten residents of Madhupur Baroghoria about the futility of witchcraft. People have begun to take recourse to witchcraft even to settle personal scores.

Last year, several people, mostly women, were seriously wounded in clashes over witchcraft in the forest villages of Laika and Dodhia in the interiors of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. The administration sent a team of magistrates, police and paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.