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70-year-old Rajasthan woman beaten to death on suspicion of being a witch, accused arrested

The woman’s neighbour and three members of his family were named in the FIR filed by the victim’s relatives.

jaipur Updated: Sep 25, 2017 18:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,Witch,Witch hunt
Such incidents of witch hunting are common in Rajasthan. In August, five persons were arrested in Rajasthan’s Ajmer district for torturing and murdering a woman relative after branding her a witch.(HT File photo)

A 70-year-old woman, Champa Devi, was allegedly beaten to death in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district by her neighbour, who accused her of being a witch, the police said on Monday.

The neighbour, Shankar Lal, and three members of his family — including wife and daughter — were named in the FIR filed by the victim’s relatives.

The incident took place at Bicla Fala village in Semari area.

Initial investigation revealed that Shankar Lal’s minor son, Govind, was suffering from a prolonged illness and he took the help of a local exorcist, Bhopa, to look for a cure. The exorcist told him that Champa was a witch and it was due to her that his son was ill.

Trusting the exorcist’s words, Shankar’s wife, Parvati, and daughter, Jija, hatched a plan to kill Champa, the police said. Shankar and his family member attacked the victim when she was working in her fields on Sunday. They dragged her for 1.5 kilometres and tied her up at their house and trashed her, the police added.

Later, a police team rushed to the scene and took the victim to the community health centre, where she was declared dead.

Soon after the incident, the accused fled. A few hours later, Shankar called up the village sarpanch and told him about the incident and said that the victim was lying at his house.

After getting information, DYSP Sarada Narayan Singh, SHO Semari police station Yogendra Vyas, SHO Parsad police station Devendra Singh went to the crime scene and started an investigation.

The relatives of the deceased lodged an FIR against Shankar Lal and his family. They later staged a protest and demanded ₹10 lakh compensation. The amount was later negotiated to ₹2.5 lakh.

“The main accused Shankar Lal has been arrested. A postmortem has been conducted and her body had been handed over to her family members,” DYSP Narayan Singh told HT.

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 18:52 IST