RANCHI: Witch-hunting, a recurring social evil in Jharkhand, has already claimed 15 lives so far this year, according to the official data of State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB). Twenty-six people were killed in 2018 and 41 in 2017, as per the SCRB data.
The recent Gumla witch-hunting case in which four people, including two women, were lynched is only one of the many such macabre killings in the eastern state. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, Jharkhand tops the list of states from 2013 to 2016 when it comes to witch hunting deaths. As many as 523 women, besides hundreds of men, were lynched on the suspicion of practicing witchcraft from 2001 to 2016.
In the Gumla case, eight arrests have been made so far. “Out of the 16 accused people named in the FIR, eight have been arrested who belong to the same village,” said Gumla SP Anjani Kumar Jha. The lynching was triggered by a chain of events which took place durian a period of time leading to the killing of these four people who were branded as witches, he added.
An awareness Champaign that is being conducted regularly for the last three months against witch-craft, mob-lynching and alcoholism, has to be intensified to check such incidents in future, the Gumla SP said.
“Since Gumla is a backward district dominated by tribal population where most people are still illiterate, making them aware is the only solution Once the people become educated and aware, such incidents will come down on its own,” said the Gumla SP.