Assault after 'witch' label

Alipurduar: A widow living alone in an Alipurduar village was branded as a "witch" by her next-door neighbours and attacked on Monday.

Lalita Barman, 51, was rescued by some other residents and taken to hospital where doctors described her condition as critical. Police said the attackers, a woman and her son, branded her a "witch" as they wanted to grab her house and land.

Lalita has two daughters, both of whom are married and stay elsewhere. On Monday evening, neighbours Brijbala Burman and her son Lalit allegedly abused Lalita, leading to an altercation at their Banchukamari village located on the outskirts of Alipurduar town.

Lalit then entered Lalita's house and grabbed her by the neck while his mother thrashed the widow with a stick, according to the police complaint.

When some other neighbours tried to save Lalita, Lalit allegedly attacked them with a sharp weapon. Later, Narayan Roy, a local youth, and some others managed to free Lalita and rush her to hospital.

"The mother and the son have plans to grab the widow's property. That is why they tried to brand her a witch and kill her," said a police source.

"We fear she might face attacks again," Lalit Roy, one of the son-in-laws of Lalita, said on Tuesday after filing the police complaint.

Brijbala and her son are absconding. "We will ensure that the victim does not face any problem in staying at her home," said Alipurduar superintendent of police A. Ravindranath.


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