PATNA: In two separate incidents related to the alleged practice of witchcraft in Bihar, an 80-year-old woman was burnt to death by her neighbour, and a 50-year-old man was shot dead on Tuesday.
Ramvati Devi, 80, was burnt to death by her neighbour, Chikru Mahaldar, in the eastern Purnia district early on Tuesday. Devi, a woman from a Mahadalit community in Kamp village under Mohanpur police station, was dragged out of her house and set afire after being drenched with kerosene, said police. Mahaldar was later arrested.
“After the accused lost his 12-year-old son to snakebite on Monday evening, he raised suspicion that the old woman had caused the boy’s death. He forced her to try her supposed witchcraft skills to bring the dead boy back to life. When the old woman said she could not do so, and that she knew no witchcraft, the accused set her afire,” said Raj Kishore Mandal, the SHO of Mohanpur police station.
There had been suspicion in the village for years that the woman had the ability to cause deaths and also to bring dead people back to life, he added. The woman had also been assaulted quite a few times in earlier years after being accused of practising witchcraft.
Six people were named in the FIR based on statements given to police by the daughter-in-law of the dead woman. Five of the accused are absconding and raids are being conducted to arrest them, said the SHO.
In the second incident, Vishwanath Ram of Rampur village under Kochas police station in the southern Rohtas district was shot dead by two people early on Tuesday. Ram, who also hails from a Dalit community, was known in the locality as a sorcerer.
Police said Ram was shot by two brothers from a nearby village, who had visited his house to take him to their home to perform sorcery. When Ram refused to go, the duo shot at him and fled. A profusely bleeding Ram died while on the way to a hospital in Varanasi. The two accused - Sanjay Paswan and Ajay Paswan - were arrested.