Woman Labelled 'Witch' Stripped and Beheaded by Mob in Guwahati
GUWAHATI: In yet another gruesome incident of ‘witch-hunting’, a 63-year-old woman was beheaded by the locals in a remote Assam village on Monday, as they suspected her of practising sorcery.
The incident was reported from No 1 Bhimajuli village in Biswanath Chariali district on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
Victim Poni Urang, a mother of five, who belonged to the adivasi tribe (also known as the tea tribe), was beheaded by a group of men belonging to the Karbi community.
The police have arrested seven people in connection with the incident.
“A group of people, who forced their way into Poni’s house around noon, dragged her out to a river and beheaded her with a machete,” a senior police officer told Express.
The police said the woman was targeted after a village quack Anima Ronghangpi branded Poni as a witch.
She told the locals that Poni was the reason for the recent deaths and diseases in the village.
She claimed that Poni had been practising witchcraft.
According to police, they are searching for Ronghangpi who is absconding after the incident.
“The situation was very tense earlier in the day(Monday), but now it is under control. As it was between two communities, we are not taking any chances. We have deployed adequate number of security personnel in the village to prevent any untoward incident. They will keep vigil round the clock,” SP Manabendra Roy said.
Witch-hunting, a social malaise, is common in Assam, especially in the Bodo and adivasi-dominated areas.
According to official records, witch-hunting claimed the lives of as many as 132 people, mostly women and children, in the state between 2002 and 2012.
There were several other cases, mostly of torture, which went unreported. Illiteracy is often blamed for the untoward incidents. The killings have continued unabated despite a series of awareness campaigns conducted by the police and various social organisations.