Ranchi Court Grants Life Imprisonment To 13 For Lynching 5 Women Over Suspicion Of Being Witches
On August 2, a lower court in Ranchi convicted 13 people for lynching five women on suspicion of being witches. The incident happened three years ago in Mandar block of Ranchi. The convicts have been awarded life sentence. Twenty-six others, including two women, were set free by the court.
The incident took place in 2015 when five tribal women including a mother and a daughter were lynched over suspicion of practicing witchcraft in Kajiya Maraytoli village in Mandar. The victims Tetri Oraon (35), Etwaria Oraon (50), Madni Oraon (55), Jasinta Toppo (55) and Ratia Oraon (70) were hacked to death by a mob of 40 to 50 people, reports Hindustan Times.
The Court found the 13 people guilty under sections 302 of Indian Penal Court for murder and 354 of IPC for assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty and other sections of the Prevention of Witch (DAAIN) Practices Act. The Court has also slapped a fine of Rs 38,000 on each of the convicts. It has said that if the guilty are unable to make the payment of the penalty, then they will have to undergo another ten months of imprisonment.
The two minors were also accused in the case. While one of the accused had died, the trial against the other one is still going on. The court convicted the six accused and awarded righteous punishment of life imprisonment for all the cases. The Court said that the sentences would run consecutively (one after another). The rest of the accused who were found guilty in two and three cases will also have to serve the same.
According to The Indian Express, just a few days before the lynching, a 17-year-old youth died after he allegedly complained of abdominal pain, and a sorcerer from an adjoining village had blamed his death on witchcraft.
On August 7, 2015, the villagers from almost four villages called for a meeting to discuss the “unpredicted” deaths of the teenager in the village. The villagers also addressed the alleged illness of their animals.
The villagers then decided to kill the five women, who allegedly practised witchcraft, to prevent deaths in the village. They decided to “solve the problem once and for all”. The villagers early in the morning went to these women’s houses, and one by one dragged them outside. The villagers battered these women with sticks, bricks and stones. The killers allegedly disfigured their faces after killing them, reports The Indian Express.
According to the reports, when the police arrived, the accused villagers showed no remorse for committing the crime. The villagers even prevented them from picking the stripped and badly mutilated bodies. Later, a written confession was submitted by the villagers to the police claiming responsibility for the crime.
As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, during the year 2013, 2014 and 2015, a total of 54, 47 and 32 cases respectively were reported under murder for witchcraft in Jharkhand, reports Hindustan Times.