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‘Witch’ killed, another beaten up in Ranchi

The Indian Express, India
Dec. 5, 2003 • Friday December 5, 2003

RANCHI, DECEMBER 4: Despite the campaign launched by the Jharkhand Womens Development Society towards sensitisation against the menace, two FIRS in two days in the district show that attacks continue on tribal women suspected of practising witchcraft.

The first FIR was lodged on Tuesday by 65-year-old Mutari Devi who was assaulted by around 50 people in Targari village for practising witchcraft. For five hours, they kept beating me. They also tried to set me on fire but somehow I managed to escape, she said.

Although Mutari named one Vijay Mahato, a resident of Targari, as the main culprit, the police are yet to arrest him.

The second FIR was filed yesterday by 70-year-old Birsa Oraon, a resident of Bajra village under the Mandar police station. He alleged that his wife Telia was leaving the hut in the afternoon when Buddhu Bhagat, 42, a resident of the same village, hacked her to death.

He (Bhagat) chopped off her head with an axe. As I ran behind shouting, he picked up Telias head and sped away on a bicycle. Several villagers and I ran after him. We found Telias head abandoned in an isolated area, said Birsa.

Bhagat thought Telia was a witch who had cast an evil spirit resulting in the death of his only son last week. The police have registered a case of murder against Bhagat, who is absconding.

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