‘Witch-hunt’ with rods kills one, injures two
A man was killed and two women seriously injured when people attacked them for “practising black magic” at Maynakhola, a locality adjacent to Bhagatpur tea estate under Nagrakata police station of Jalpaiguri district on Wednesday night.
Police rescued the women, Chameli Oraon and Korio Kewar, neighbours aged over 50, currently under treatment at Malbazar hospital. Mongra Oraon, 60, who the attackers had alleged was their “mentor in witchcraft”, died on spot after being beaten by iron rods and sticks.
Nine persons have been arrested. Sources said for past few months, some residents suspected Chameli and Korio were “practicing black magic” that made people fall ill.
On Wednesday night, a group of people went to these women’s homes and caught them. Others asked Mongra, who also stayed nearby, to come out and accused him of being the mentor to the women. They took all three of them to Maynakhola, an adjacent locality, and started beating them with iron rods and sticks.
As some residents informed Nagrakata police, a team went to the spot and managed to rescue the women. Mongra, however, died on the spot.
Policemen recovered his body and carried raids to nab attackers. Nine persons were arrested in this connection.
Amir Minz, Mongra’s nephew, accused some villagers of lynching his uncle. “They should be punished,” he said.
The incident put the administration and the police on alert as such “witch-hunts” are rarer now in north Bengal tribal belts. “We will soon start an awareness campaign in the area so that people do not fall prey to such superstitions. Police have been asked to take stringent steps against all involved in Wednesdays crime,” said Bipul Kumar Mondal, the BDO of Nagrakata.
The arrested were produced at a local court in Jalpaiguri on Thursday. Five were sent to judicial custody and four to police custody.