Millennium Post

HP: 21 held after mob thrashed 70-yr old widow for 'witchcraft'

HP: 21 held after mob thrashed 70-yr old widow for witchcraft

Mandi: Twenty-one people were arrested for allegedly parading a 70-year-old woman at village Samahla in Sarkaghat area of Mandi, after blackening her face and garlanding her with shoes on the suspicion that she practised sorcery, police said on Sunday

Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rugdev Milind Thakur said the police have arrested 21 persons, seven of them women, who were directly involved in alleged barbarism against the old woman, who was a widow and happened to be living alone. Seventeen people, who were arrested last night have been remanded to police custody till November 12. Other four will be produced on Monday. The police registered FIR no 184/2019 under sections 147,149,452,435,355 and 427 IPC on November 9,2019.

"This kind of incidents are unacceptable in society. Locals have exceeded the limits and taken the law in their hands in the name of deity culture," he told the Millennium Post.

The woman was attacked by the mob from the village and paraded with shoes on her neck and her face blackened with ink. The video of the incident had gone viral two days back which also compelled CM Jai Ram Thakur to pass orders to the police to crack down the migrants who resulted to such a serious offence against an aged woman. Social media including Facebook and Whatsapp have shown the shocking trail as to how the woman was dragged, insulted and thrashed publically. No one came to her rescue despite her repeated pleas. Says Jabna Chauhan, who is youngest gram panchayat Prashan at Tharjun, also in the Mandi district "this incident is a shame on our educated society. I wonder Sarkaghat — the area where it happened, has the most educated class and people serving the state government and Indian armed forces. I have spoken to the Superintendent of Police, Mandi, suggesting for astringent action."

She declared, "Had this happened in my panchayat area, I would have been the first person to break the legs of accused. This is the most condemnable act." Ironically, the accused, who attacked the woman were heard raising slogans to appease a local deity at the beat of the drums and bells, which itself adds a twist to the story. Says Deputy Commissioner Mandi, "Dev samaj-a religious organisation in Mandi is meeting on Monday. They have rejected any deity influence in the incident. I have sent some experts to study the happening and make interventions."

Meanwhile, the woman has been taken to Hamirpur by her daughter. The incident seems to be the handiwork of some village people who were eyeing at her property, say locals. She had earlier lodged a complaint with local panchayat that provoked locals to hatch a conspiracy against her and accuse her of practicing witchcraft.

Ashwani Sharma

Ashwani Sharma

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