On Monday, an elderly couple from the Adivasi community was killed in Assam’s Baksa district on suspicion of practising witchcraft.
Moreover, in connection with the crime, one individual has been apprehended.
The event occurred at the Doomni Tea Estate at the district’s Mushalpur under Mushalpur police station.
Meanwhile, when the crime was committed, the couple was alone at home.
Further, both victims’ bodies were sent for post-mortem examinations, and a murder case was filed.
Suraj Ekka (35), according to police, barged into Sukra Kasua’s (80) residence with a machete and killed him and his wife Balamadina Tirkey (75), accusing them of practising witchcraft.
On the basis of an FIR filed by the deceased’s family members, Ekka was arrested on Monday evening.
He appeared in a lower court on Tuesday.
Mushalpur Police Station Officer-in-Charge Naren Sonowal said, “During preliminary interrogation, Ekka confessed before the police that he had committed the crime. He said his family members were suffering from illness for the last couple of months after the couple’s visit and this led him to suspect the couple were practising witchcraft.”
Ekka’s wife, according to reports, has been ill for a few months and has not recovered despite treatment.
Sonowal stated that this was the first instance of its kind in the Mushalpur Police Station’s jurisdiction in the recent two years.
In addition, he said, “Several organisations, NGOs, government departments and police frequently organize awareness camps in the region against superstitions, including witchcraft.”
Witchcraft in Assam
In Assam’s rural heartlands, once a witch, always a witch is the rule. No matter what you do, once you’ve been labelled a witch, the label will follow you for the rest of your life.
Many Indian states still practise superstition and believe in the presence of witches, but according to people, Assam is the epicentre of this practice.
Since 1989, hundreds of people have been accused of witchcraft and have been subjected to harsh punishments including mob lynchings, rapes, sexual assaults, naked parades, public shaming, and social boycotts.
Moreover, people who are targeted are frequently blamed for sickness, deaths, agricultural failures, property loss, and even natural disasters in their communities.
The most common victims of witchcraft hunts have been women. After being labelled as “witches,” countless women have been cast out of their villages and, in many cases, sexually abused and beaten.
The victims are frequently labelled as witches by the villagers’ ‘witch doctors,’ also known as ‘Ojaa’ or ‘Bej,’ or self-proclaimed god/goddess, who the villagers consult on everything from sicknesses to crop loss to family feuds.
Instead of using scientific means to treat ailments or seeking police assistance to end a quarrel, these untrained and unqualified ‘witch doctors’ use sorcery and black magic. They are the answer to all of the difficulties that gullible residents are having.