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Property dispute, not witch-hunting reason for Ranchi triple murder

The murders had sent shock waves across Jharkhand, as rumours spread that the women became victims of the superstitious practice of witch-hunting.

ranchi Updated: Oct 25, 2017 23:45 IST
B Vijay Murty
B Vijay Murty
Hindustan Times, Hathitopa (Bundu)
Property dispute,Ranchi triple murder,Witch hunting
Relatives of Bibi Devi, one of the victims of last week’s killing, in Ranchi on Wednesday. (Parwaz Khan/HT Photo)

The sensational murders of three tribal women in Bundu near Ranchi early this week has turned out to be fallout of a property dispute among family members, according to police.

Investigators have virtually zeroed in on the culprits, who apparently knew the victims, said a source close to the probe. Police did not share details as the extended family members were busy carrying out the last rites on Wednesday.

“We are very close to solving the case,” deputy superintendent of police (DSP) KV Raman told HT. He said the investigation would take a few days more to expose the culprits. He ruled out witch-hunting, as speculated initially, as the reason for the triple murder.

The victims — Bibi Devi, Lakhomani Devi and Taramoni Devi — were hacked to death in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

According to police, a sharp object was used to attack the women on their necks with the intent to behead them. Their semi-decapitated bodies were recovered from bushes.

The murders sent shock waves across Jharkhand, as rumours spread that the women became victims of the superstitious practice of witch-hunting.

Police suspect Bibi Devi, 60, Lakhomani Devi and Taramoni Devi were murdered in their sleep.

Lakhimoni and Taramoni were widows of Mahipal Munda, who died a couple of years ago. Mahipal was the younger brother of Chandramohan Munda, who was married to Bibi.

Chandramohan too had a second wife.

Due to repeated altercations, Bibi used to live with Lakhimoni and Taramoni at Hathitopa while Chandramohan lived with his younger brother, Jagatpal, in Kullaburu, barely 500 metres away. Police are looking into information that the two brothers wanted to usurp around 1 acre of land the joint family owned at Hathitopa. Police are assessing information that Bibi Devi, Lakhimoni and Taramoni opposed the brothers.

Jagatpal dismissed this. He said, “There was no dispute over property or land in the family at any point of time and issues were often settled amicably.”

Police said, “the two brothers could be picked up for interrogation but declined to divulge any details of their involvement in the triple murder.”

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 23:03 IST