A villager was hacked to death by his neighbour on suspicion of practising witchcraft, police said today.
The incident took place in the village of Dengnanggre near Achotchongre under Bajengdoba PS in North Garo Hills yesterday.
As per police reports, Henathson A Sangma allegedly attacked his neighbour, Daren Marak after accusing him of casting an evil spell on him. He then attacked the victim with an axe, leading to his death.
“We have arrested the accused yesterday after the incident and an investigation into the murder is currently on,” North Garo Hills SP, Abraham T Sangma said.
Rumours of people practicing witchcraft have proved to be extremely dangerous for many with similar cases being reported from many areas.
Earlier in August 2020, a man killed his own step brother over suspicions of him practicing witchcraft.
The most infamous of these cases from the Garo Hills region came after five of a family were chased and killed in the village of Mrigre under Rongram in West Garo Hills, over similar suspicions. The incident took place in early 2015 and the case against almost the entire village is still pending in Court.
Interestingly as is now emerging, gangs in some of these villages that are prone to fear of witchcraft, have got together to utilise the fear to their advantage.
If reports are to be believed, a case emerged in West Garo Hills where about 2-3 villagers have been sent demand notes by people from their own village. The modus operandi of the group was to seek extortion money.
If however the victim refuses to cooperate and part with their money, this same gang threatens to kill them through accusations of them practising witchcraft – a word that has made villagers fearful. An FIR into one such case was registered recently in Tikrikilla PS though the matter is under investigation. Those that filed the police complaint have run to other places in fear of their lives, leaving their homes and farms at the mercy of nature.