Accused of witchcraft, tribal man’s fingers cut off in Bengal’s Birbhum
A tribal man had all his 10 fingers cut off on the orders of a kangaroo court in Bengal’s Birbhum district on suspicion that he was a practitioner of witchcraft.
Fandi Sardar, 42, a daily labourer, has been admitted to the surgical ward of Burdwan Medical College Hospital after the incident on Tuesday night in Radhakrishnapur under Panrui village, about 176 km to the north of Kolkata.
“Though no formal complaint has yet been lodged, we have started an investigation after we came to know about the incident. We are also looking whether there are disputes over property or anything else,” said Birbhum district police superintendent Kunal Aggarwal,
“Only after a first information report (FIR) is drawn up will the question of applying appropriate penal sections arise,” said the officer.
On Wednesday, a police team visited the village and began patrolling the area.
“I have asked officials to go to the village and have directed the block development officer to submit a detailed report,” said Moumita Godara, the district magistrate.
Sardar and his wife have five children -- three sons and two daughters.
According to local residents, headmen of the village branded the man a witch and ordered that he be killed.
Subsequently, the punishment was reduced to his fingers being cut off. The headmen left the village after passing the order.
There have been several incidents in the tribal societies of the state where individuals were branded as witches and lynched.
On April 23, Mangal Mandi, a 60-year-old tribal man and his elder sister, Maku Baskey, 65, were clubbed to death in the Madbabdihi area of East Burdwan district. Bishu Mandi, the main suspect, alleged that they practised witchcraft and were responsible for his wife’s prolonged illness.