The deceased included a 50-year-old widow, Ramawati Halua, who was believed to be a “witch” and responsible for another woman’s death in the village.
- Last Updated: October 2, 2020, 2:37 PM IST
- Edited by: Diksha Modi
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The incident occurred in Langhin Rahimapur under Dokmoka Police Station where a few angry villagers attacked Ramawati Halua in her house with sharp weapons and when Bijoy Gaur, a school teacher, tried to intervene, both were brutally murdered. According to sources, the villagers then beheaded the bodies and offered prayers to ward off evil, and later dragged their bodies across a river and cremated them on a distant hill side.
The villagers also tried to kill the teenage daughter of Ramawati but the girl escaped and reached the Dokmoka Police Station on Thursday morning and gave her statement. A police team rushed to the spot and recovered the murder weapons and remnants of the victims’ bodies.
So far, the police have arrested nine people and a search is on to nab others. One of the accused admitted to his crime and surrendered to the police. The village where is crime occurred is mostly inhabited by the Adivasi community where people either work as daily wage labourers or as small-time farmers.
“All accused belong to the same community and the incident was reported from elsewhere. The people are economically to backward and are loaded with superstitious beliefs. We will now prepare a charge sheet and if the court convicts them then only we can say that we reached a logical conclusion,” said Karbi Anglong, SP, Debojit Deuri.
According to sources, a woman from the village had died a few days ago after falling sick and was taken to Guwahati for treatment. During her post death ritual, another woman started showing “abnormal signs”, claiming Ramawati Halua was the witch behind the death and would bring bad fortune to the village.
“I don’t know what happened to me, I don’t remember if I took her (Ramwati) name. The deceased girl’s soul somehow got hold of me and I don’t know what I said under her possession,” the woman who branded Ramawati as a witch claimed during interrogation by the police.
In a similar incident under the same police station two year ago, two youths from Guwahati were brutally killed by an angry mob. On June 8, 2018, the two men namely, Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das, went for a short vacation to Dokmoka to enjoy the scenic view of a waterfall. However, they were suspected to be child abductors, leading to a mob brutally thrashing the two who eventually succumbed to their injuries. The video of the incident went viral over the internet drawing outrage from both national and international communities. Their families are still waiting for justice to the served.
The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, 2015 has been in force in the state since 2018. According to the law, witch-hunting has been recognised as a non-bailable and non-compoundable offence, with the provisions of life imprisonment.
According to the data presented by the Assam government in the state Legislative Assembly last year, at least 161 deaths have been reported in cases of witch-hunting in the state in the last 18 years.
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