GUWAHATI : An Assamese woman javelin champion, who has won laurels at the national level in masters’ competition, was “tortured” for allegedly practising witchcraft. The incident took place at Cherekali, a remote village in Assam .
Victim Debjani Bora, 51, who won a gold medal in the 2011 athletics national masters in Haryana, alleged that she was tortured inside a ‘naamghar’ (a community prayer hall) by a ‘naamgharia (one who leads prayers in naamghars) and some locals, who blamed her for the deaths of some people.
“In the last few months, a number of deaths occurred in our village. Some people, including a jilted lover, committed suicide, while some died as a result of alcoholism. The locals thought a witch was at work. So, a special prayer-cum-puja was arranged at the village ‘naamghar’. During the chanting of hymns and mantras, the naamgharia Radha Laskar suddenly pounced on me, grabbing me from behind and started yelling that I was the witch responsible for the deaths and diseases,” Debjani told Express. “Soon, the others joined in. They put me inside a couple of fishing nets and started raining blows. I saved my life by managing to flee but not before sustaining injuries on the chest and back,” she said.
The police have arrested Laskar. “We have arrested him. The incident could be the result of personal enmity. Our investigation is on,” district police chief Mugdha Jyoti Mahanta said.