A 48-year-old man hacked to death four members of a family in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum on Wednesday, in what police said was a revenge attack as one of the victims’ brother had branded his wife a witch before she was killed.
The incident took place at Chattani Tolah in Patharbhanga village under Potka police station of the district, said Ajit Vimal, Musaboni deputy superintendent of police.
Police have arrested the accused, Basko Tudu, and are further investigating the case, he said.
“Basko Tudu started the killing spree around 8 in the morning in what looks like a revenge attack for his wife’s murder by the elder brother of the deceased, Shyam alias Bhairon Tudu, after she was branded a witch on January 15.”
Bhairon Tudu was arrested and sent to jail, he said.
The deceased have been identified as Thapa Tudu (35), his brother, Ramesh Tudu (28), sister, Sonai Tudu (20) and Ramesh Tudu’s wife, Malati Tudu (23).
According to police, Basko Tudu took Thapa Tudu to a nearby pond and axed him to death. Afterwards he barged into Thapa Tudu’s house and axed the other three members of the family to death.
Vimal said this was second incident linked to superstitious beliefs and witch hunt in the block. “On January 6, a similar case had come to us but we succeeded in convincing both the sides and sent them back to their village in Kowali,” he said.
“We will intensify our awareness campaign to end the menace with the help of the civil administration.” Branding women as witches is particularly prevalent among tribal communities in the state. While the belief in black magic is superstitious, accusations of witchcraft often stem from village rivalry, property disputes or jealousy.