Kumud Jenamani & Sudhir Kumar Mishra
Jamshedpur/Ranchi, Nov. 1: A 72-year-old woman
suspected of being a witch and blamed for killing a toddler, and her
three middle-aged children were hacked to death by two men in the small
hours today in Dalbhanga village, Kuchai thana area in Seraikela-Kharsawan, about 80km from Jamshedpur.
On the assumption that Jakorani Mundain practised witchcraft to kill
Shyamlal Munda's year-old son last afternoon, the bereaved father and
his cousin Raisingh Munda axed the old woman, her daughter Soro Mundain
(55) and sons Ghasia Munda (50) and Hagal Munda (45).
Then, Shyamlal and Raisingh, both aged 30, surrendered before the
local chowkidar at Dalbhanga, a rebel-hit village where the nearest
healthcare centre is in Kuchai thana area, 15km away.
Seraikela-Kharsawan SP Indrajeet Mahatha, who rushed to Dalbhanga this morning, said the incident occurred around 1am.
"After committing the deed, the cousins confessed to the village
chowkidar themselves. After daybreak, the village chowkidar informed the
police," the SP said, adding the duo were in custody.
The SP who said he spoke to the duo, confirmed Shyamlal's
one-year-old son died of a recurrent fever last afternoon. Though the
child had been taken to a doctor earlier, no one could say for sure what
the diagnosis was or the treatment followed, but Shyamlal and other
family members immediately leapt to the conclusion that Jakorani had
practised black magic on the child.
"Shyamlal and Raisingh plotted to kill the old woman at night to
avenge the child's death and in the process murdered her three children
sleeping with her," said Mahatha.
According to the SP, the duo neither raised a hue and cry about the
child's death nor made any public accusations against the old woman.
"They acted with single-minded deliberation," the SP said. "They did not
trigger public outcry. That's why, everyone was in the dark, including
the victims and close neighbours."
"They had no regrets. Superstitions are deep-rooted in the minds of
people in this area," DSP (headquarters) Deepak Kumar said, adding the
weapons used in the attack were recovered.
All four victims, with fatal cut marks on their necks, had prima
facie met their deaths on the spot. Police took the bodies to Seraikela
divisional hospital for autopsy. One of Jakorani's sons, Ram Singh Munda
survived the attack as he stayed separately in the same village.
Villager Sukhdev Munda (28), who resides in the immediate vicinity of
the victims, said he slept through the killings. "I came to know about
the murders this morning. I heard no sound."
In Ranchi, Jharkhand State Women's Commission chairperson Mahua Maji
reacted strongly to yet another woman being branded a witch and killed
with her family, calling the Kuchai killings, close on the heels of the
Mandar murders, as yet another instance of dismal healthcare and
educational facilities in villages.
"Intensive awareness drives are crucial in villages where
superstition makes it easy to blame a woman for any death or misfortune
by dubbing her a dayen. Unfortunately, healthcare and
educational facilities are too sparse to make a dent in mindsets," she
said. "Our outfit (women's commission) has no funds to undertake
Urging social welfare department to take up awareness drives, Maji
said they also were willing to work together with NGOs in campaigns.
Even 68 years after Independence we are seeing the above type of crimes occurring.
Is India a failed nation?
I believe so if we cannot take care of our citizens.
Having so many billionaires and having o much GDP is all uselss if we murder each other on the basis of caste, language or religion.
India, I am shamed of you or rather your leaders who allow this to happen.