Police save man from ‘witch-hunters’ near Bhutan border

Guwahati, July 23 (IANS) Just days after the killing of a 63-year-old woman by branding her a witch, alert policemen saved a man from the clutches of some ‘witch hunters’ in a remote village in Assam’s Baksa district along the Bhutan border.

Kharmeswar Boro of Soru Belbari village was rescued on Wednesday when he was being beaten up by some people, who branded him a witch, police said on Thursday.

“Some local leaders of the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) informed us about the incident and we rushed immediately and rescued him,” a police official said.

The victim told police that a few years back, some people in the village accused his mother of practising witchcraft and killed her.

“He said he had approached the village elders after some people from the village branded him a witch. The Gaon Sabha (village council) called a meeting to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

“When the meeting started, the section that branded him a witch refused to listen to him and started beating him,” said a police official of the Gandhibari police outpost.

Police have kept Boro in preventive custody so that no one harms him.

“Since there was an attempt on his life, we are waiting for some time before sending him home,” police said.

Recently, some youths suspected 63-year-old Adivasi woman Poni Orang to be a witch in Bhimajuli village in Biswanath Chariali and killed her. Police have arrested 12 people for their involvement in the killing.

Witch hunting is an evil superstition present among some communities in Assam. The state government says it would bring an Act with more punitive action to check the menace.

The government is also planning a special court for trial of criminal cases related to witch-hunting, which has killed 82 people in the last five years.

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