Daltonganj: A 54-year-old tribal marginal farmer was brutally thrashed to death for practising witchcraft by five fellow villagers, also tribal, at remote, Naxalite-hit Garhwat hamlet, 88km from Daltonganj and some 265km from Ranchi, on Saturday.
The killers, including a woman, are absconding.
Victim Indradeo Singh alias Godhar Singh was beaten up with sticks around 8.30am and left for dead after which he succumbed some time later, his widow Sunarwa Devi told the police. She said she could feel his breath for some time after which he collapsed. She tried to revive him with water but he was too far gone, she said.
Sunarwa, who in her FIR named the five accused – farmer Vishundeo Singh alias Teeru and his wife, Rameshwar Singh, Parmeshwar Singh and Bullu alias Baluwa – also told the police that the killers, barring the woman, had in the morning made her husband drink country liquor and also drunk it themselves. Then, they beat him up.
Manatu thana, 17km from Garhwat, has stepped up the hunt for the killers. Manatu OC Sanjay Nayak said, “The five accused have fled their houses at Garhwat and are in hiding. But we will trace them very soon.”
Palamau SP Indrajeet Mahatha SP Palamau clarified to the paper that the victim’s body was not burnt, as reported by a section of the media. “The body was intact and sent for post-mortem on Saturday evening. It was not burnt at all,” he said.
On accusations of witchcraft, a Palamau scribe said people in villages were quick to blame “black magic” for everything, including trivial things such as cows refusing to walk. “Ignorance and illiteracy of people are to blame for this superstition,” he said.