'Two women who claimed to be incartions of Goddess Durga proclaimed Kawe as a witch. They had told the villagers that if she is not elimited, calamity would befall the village'
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 5: Allegedly incited by two women who claimed to be incartions of Goddess Durga, people from six villages ganged up, branded a widow as witch, killed her and then buried the body at a deserted place in Karbi Anglong's Baithalangso.
The incident has brought to the fore yet again the mece of witch-hunting that has taken a serious toll in tribal and Adivasi domited areas of the State.
Forty-eight year old Kawe Ranghanpi, a resident of Dohidi village near Hoksang under Dalimbari police outpost, was strangulated to death by a group of 10/15 people on the evening of July 1 last. "The body was dragged for several miles across three hillocks and then buried at an isolated place," police said.
According to local sources, two women - Kareng Kerapi and Kaseng Phangsopi - who claimed to be incartions of Goddess Durga proclaimed Kawe as a witch. They had told the villagers that if she is not elimited, calamity would befall the village.
The witch-hunting was allegedly backed by the headmen of six adjacent villages, besides locals of Dahidi.
Police came to know of the incident yesterday and launched investigations.
However, a police team which went to recover the body of the victim was confronted by villagers who protested the exhumation move. One sub inspector was also injured in the tussle before the police were forced to fire some rounds in the air to disperse the mob.
The body has been sent for post mortem.
So far, police has arrested six persons - identified as Langkriram Kro (25), Longki Rangham (28), Jur Hanse (25), Charpe Teron (30), Babu Kroyap (28) and Mujari Engti (26).
Activist Dibyajyoti Saikia of social organization 'Brothers' has demanded arrest of the two women who branded the victim a witch.
"These incidents are recurring due to lack of awareness and education. The anti-witch hunting law, which the State government is planning to ect, has come a little late. In any case, the government should expedite the law," Saikia said.
Over 77 people have been killed in cases of witch hunting in the State from 2010 till date. At least sixty persons were also injured in attacks related to witch-hunting.Most of the incidents took place in BTAD and Adivasi domited areas.
The Assam government has prepared a draft bill to prevent witch hunting and protect persons subjected to atrocities and physical and mental harassment on such pretext.
According to the government, the new law would give more teeth to law enforcing agencies.
As per the new law, terming, accusing and causing physical and mental harassment in the me of being a witch would be treated as a cognizable offence.