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Monday, November 12, 2012

Tribal Widow Reels under Life Threat after Branded as ‘Witch’

Malda, November 11, 2012: Branded as ‘witch’ a tribal widow is running away from home for the fear of her life. Police too could not ensure her security yet and kept her in their custody. The incident took place at village Himsim of Babupur gram panchayet under Gazole Police Station.

It is learnt that 62 years old Hoponmoyee Murmu was living in the thatched house alone for last 15 year after her husband’s death. She has no children. With no source of income and not figuring even in BPL list, Hoponmoyee was living amid abject poverty. Her brother in law Duluj Baske too was living nearby with his own family. Wife of Duluj, Sajli Soren, has been suffering from fever for last few days. Treatment by the quacks did not yield any result.

Taking these chance relatives of Duluj spread the rumor that Sajli was certainly under the spell of witchcraft. They identified Hoponmoyee as the witch. Accordingly, a kangaroo court was held in the village on 4 November. In the meeting it was decided that a team of the villagers would visit to a soothsayer in Jharkhand and as the primary suspect Hoponmoyee would have to bear the expenses for that. Poor widow naturally declined it.

Infuriated villagers campaigned against the lady and were allegedly planning to kill her. “It was impossible for me to bear that expense and their intention was very clear. Going there they would have declared me as witch and kill me”, said hapless Hoponmoyee. She alleged that a group of villagers were eying to her hut and the small plot of land. On 8 November night with the help of a neighbour she ran to Gazole Police Station. Since then she could not return her home.

SP, Malda Jayanta Pal said, “We have kept the lady in a relative’s house at Gazole under our supervision. The process is going on to convince the villagers against witchcraft so that she could be restored in her home.”

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