Police recovered the charred body of the victim Wednesday morning.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Police recovered the charred body of the victim Wednesday morning.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Adivasi man burnt alive after being accused of witchcraft in Andhra’s Vizag

Superstition cost a tribal man his life after a child who was delirious with fever mumbled his name leading her family to suspect that the victim was practising witchcraft.
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad | By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
PUBLISHED ON SEP 26, 2019 04:33 PM IST

A 55-year old Adivasi man was brutally assaulted and burnt alive by fellow tribals on the suspicion that he was practising black magic in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam district, the police said.

The deceased was identified as K Jayaram. The incident happened at Puttabandha tribal hamlet of Araku block on Tuesday evening but came to light on Wednesday when his family members lodged a complaint with the police at Dumbriguda, about 13 km away.

According to the police, a nine-year old girl, who had been suffering from viral fever for the last few days, was heard mumbling in delirium that she was being beaten and strangulated by Jayaram.

“Her parents and their relatives informed the same to the village heads, who held a village panchayat on Tuesday and summoned Jayaram. The girl’s father and others accused Jayaram of practising “chillangi” (witchcraft) on the girl, but he denied of knowing any such practices,” Dumbriguda sub-inspector of police L Himagiri told Hindustan Times.

Even as Jayaram was pleading innocence, the agitated kin of the girl and others tied him to a tree and beat him brutally before pouring petrol over him and burning him alive.

“Since the hamlet is deep in the interior and it was already dark, Jayaram’s family members came to the police station the following day to lodge a complaint. We reached the hamlet immediately and recovered the charred body of Jayaram,” Himagiri said.

According to the complaint, 10 people were allegedly involved in Jayaram’s murder. “We have booked a case against them for murder and criminal intimidation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. We are presently questioning the witnesses and the accused and are yet to make any arrests,” the police officer said, adding that the girl was still alive.

On September 18, in a similar incident near Shamirpet on the outskirts of Hyderabad, a 24-year old man Boya Anjaneyulu was assaulted and burnt alive on the pyre of a 45-year old woman by her relatives who suspected him to have performed witchcraft on her. The woman’s husband and two others were arrested subsequently.

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