3 of Jharkhand family burnt to death over ‘sacrifice plot’
The villagers alleged that Govardhan Bhagat had kept a child from another village in his house with the intention to sacrifice her. Govardhan, his wife Mato Devi and daughter-in-law Sukhmania Bhagat were killed in the incident.india Updated: Apr 19, 2016 00:59 IST
Three members of a family were burnt to death and one severely injured in Jharkhand on Sunday after villagers set their house on fire alleging that they were planning to kill a minor girl in a ritualistic sacrifice.
The incident took place in Chipo Thaka Toli village in Lohardaga, about 90km from Ranchi, and is the most recent in a spate of similar attacks in the state, which has witnessed maximum cases of witch-hunting in India from 2008 to 2013, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The villagers alleged that Govardhan Bhagat had kept a child from another village in his house with the intention to sacrifice her. Govardhan, his wife Mato Devi and daughter-in-law Sukhmania Bhagat were killed in the incident.
Police rescued four members of the family, including Govardhan’s son, Laldeo Bhagat, from the fire. Laldeo suffered 85% burns and is admitted at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi.
“It was a rumour; the family did not keep any girl at home for sacrifice. Seventeen of 25 named accused in the case have already been arrested,” said Lohardaga superintendent of police, Kartik S, who was one of the first to reach the spot on Sunday night.
Combating superstition has been one of the major hurdles for the tribal state, where practices of witch-hunting, tonsuring and animal sacrifices for better harvest and nude processions for rains are prevalent. Jharkhand, in 2013, witnessed the maximum number of witch-hunting cases in India — of the 160 murders committed with witch-hunting as a motive, 54 were in Jharkhand. From 2008 to 2013, Jharkhand had 220 such murders.