BARIPADA: As many as nine persons including a Tantrik have been arrested for assaulting three women on suspicion of practising witchcraft in Mayurbhanj district.The Tantrik, identified as 45-year-old Paresh Majhi of Etamundi village within Badasahi police limits, was arrested on Monday. Police had arrested the other eight accused on Sunday. They are Ananta Tudu (50) and his wife Pana Tudu (46), Sumita Murmu (20), Tounde Tudu (70), Basanti Tudu (50), Gouri Soren (34), Hira Murmu (42) and Laxmi Tudu (32), all of Mohandihi village within Udala police limits.
Udala IIC Amit Biswal said Ananta had lost his son Baidhara to an illness in April. To ascertain the cause of his son’s death, he approached Paresh. The Tantrik blamed Samrai Murmu, his mother Tukumoni Murmu and his brother’s wife Raimata Murmu besides Thapa Murmu for practising sorcery which led to Baidhara’s death.
Ananta then called a meeting in the village where the three women were branded as witches. Later, the accused assaulted Thapa, Raimata and Tukumoni and ostracised them from the village. Raimata and Tukumoni sustained critical injuries in the assault and were hospitalised. The incident took place on Monday last week. The arrests were made on the basis of Samrai’s complaint. All the accused were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody, the IIC added.