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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

2 priests among 8 suspects held in Jharkhand lynching case

Police suspect two tribal priests were main conspirators of the crime.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2019 07:28 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Ranchi
The Jharkhand Police on Monday booked 16 people and arrested eight of them in connection with the Gumla lynching case in which four elderly persons were lynched on suspicions of practising “witchcraft”.
The Jharkhand Police on Monday booked 16 people and arrested eight of them in connection with the Gumla lynching case in which four elderly persons were lynched on suspicions of practising “witchcraft”. (Getty Images)
         

The Jharkhand Police on Monday booked 16 people and arrested eight of them, including two tribal priests, in connection with the Gumla lynching case in which four elderly persons, two among them women, were lynched on suspicions of practising “witchcraft”.

Police suspect two tribal priests were main conspirators of the crime.

Four persons in their 60s, including two women, were killed by around a dozen angry villagers, who dragged them out of their houses and attacked them with sticks and sharp weapons while accusing them of practising “witchcraft” at Siskari in Jharkhand’s Gumla district on Sunday.

Gumla superintendent of police Anjani Kumar Jha, said, “Sixteen people have been named accused in the case. We have so far arrested eight of them. A search operation is under way to nab the rest.”

The eight arrested in the case are Sukra Oraon (tribal priest of the village), Tula Oraon (junior priest of the village), Lalu Oraon, Ram Oraon, Shuku Oraon, Mahabir Oraon, Kundru Oraon and Jhadi Oraon.

“The priests seemed to be the main conspirators,” the SP said.

The police, in their investigation, found that one Bolo Oraon, a young boy of the village, died of some unknown disease around a fortnight back, after which some in the village spread rumours that Suna Oraon, one of those later lynched, had killed him by practising black magic.

“Villagers led by the two tribal priests held a meeting and concluded that the victims were practising occultism,” Jha said.

“The same night, the group of villagers dragged the four elderly people out of their homes and brutally beat them to death with sticks,” Jha said.

Asked about the police’s initiative to deal with superstition and cases of witchcraft, the SP said they had been organising several awareness programmes in villages.

“In last 15 days, we have organised three workshops in Gumla, six in Chainpur and four in Basia. In coming days, such programmes would be organised at police station and panchayat level so that such incidents don’t repeat in future,” Jha said.

First Published: Jul 23, 2019 04:56 IST

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