ASSAM NEWS

Nine arrested for assault on elderly couple accusing them of practising witchcraft in Boko

Elderly couple

 

A Correspondent

Boko: Boko Police arrested nine persons, including a woman, in connection with the physical torture and detention of an elderly couple at Dagaon village, about 25 km from Boko town under Boko Legislative Constituency near the Assam-Meghalaya inter-State border.

The couple – Luind Sangma (80) and Pritila Sangma (65) – belonging to Dagaon village under Boko police station, were accused of practising witchcraft. They were beaten up and detained by a section of villagers on May 11. Police, however, rescued them on the basis of information received on May 12 and made arrangements for their treatment at the Boko First Refer Unit Hospital and later at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

The arrested persons have been identified as Marila Marak (43), Heekith Sangma (46), Nikhil Marak (21), Susen Sangma (40),Sonat Marak (36), Lejosh Sangma (48), Mukharjee Sangmaa (25), Silgrik Sangma (19) and Sailash Marak (19). Jogendra Barman, officer-in-charge of Boko police station, said, “We had started an investigation and managed to arrest nine persons, including a woman, from the village this morning. They are believed to have been instigated to assault the couple by a quack named Gridison Marak, who is absconding. We are on the lookout for him and should arrest him in a day or two.”

Sources said that the villagers had organized a public meeting on the evening of May 11 prior to dragging the duo out of their house and assaulting them for allegedly practising witchcraft.

Meanwhile, the couple has been discharged from GMCH and is currently under the protection of Boko Police. “They are recovering from their injuries. We interacted with them this morning and are now trying to arrange accommodation for them in Boko for the time being. We will have to look for a shelter home for them soon,” Barman said.

Dibyajyoti Saikia, a human rights activist, who claims to have played an instrumental role in getting the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection Act) 2015 enacted, also met the victim couple at Boko police station on Tuesday afternoon.

“From what I could gather from preliminary interaction with the elderly couple, a quack named Gridison Marak might have conspired to eliminate the duo for which he had instigated villagers to carry out the assault on the pretext that the couple was practising witchcraft in the village. This is a clear case of human rights violation and the authorities in the home department have to take stern measures against superstitious beliefs to prevent such crimes,” Saikia said.

 

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