A 50-year-old man was brutally beaten to death by villagers in Assam allegedly on suspicion of practicing witchcraft. Five accused have been arrested in the case so far, police sources added.
The shocking incident took place in Bagribari village in Baksa district on Monday. The victim has been identified as 50-year-old Biren Boro. Police say that it appears to be a case of witch-hunting however only investigation will reveal if there was a different motive.
Police sources added that a Kangaroo court had allegedly first 'branded' the victim of practicing witchcraft and then he was attacked by a mob. Policemen who came to rescue the victim were also attacked by the angry mob.
"We received information that villagers are assaulting a man on suspicion that he practiced witchcraft. When the police reached the spot, they saw that a meeting was going on and some villagers were assaulting a person. When we tried to rescue the man, the villagers attacked us and vandalised the police car. We had to use force to bring the situation under control. We have arrested five people allegedly involved in the brutal attack," Baksa Superintendent of Police Rajen Singh told NDTV.
The victim who was badly injured in the attack was taken to a hospital for treatment where he died of his injuries, police added.
At least 161 people were killed in "witch-hunting" and other superstitious practices between 2001 to 2019 in Assam. According to official records, 133 cases have been registered since 2001.
The Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Act, which implements stringent punishment and fines for branding and killing people for being "witches" is in effect in the state since 2018.
Assam police had introduced "Project Prahari" in 2001. It was a community project by police against the killing of women after branding them as witches.