Tribal woman shot dead in ‘witch hunt’ in India’s Tripura

  • Tripura Correspondent,
    Published: 2015-03-17 22:20:29 BdST


A 60-year-old tribal woman has been shot dead by her relatives who suspected she practised witchcraft.

The incident occurred on late Monday night in India’s north-eastern state of Tripura.
The woman was shot with a country-made gun from a close range by her neighbours when she was alone at the home.
The victim has been identified as Kanyapati Debbarma of Duraishamrai ADC village, about 20 km from Kamalpur, a sub-divisional bordering town of remote Dhalai district.
A group of youths stormed into the house of Kanyapati and shot her dead while she was cooking.
The victim's husband and children were not at home.
Tripura police have detained two suspects based on the statement of her husband.
Police apprehended one Pratikbabu Debbarma and his son Mongal Charan Debbarma.
Mongal later confessed that he had shot his aunt Kanyapati for allegedly practising witchcraft.
He accused her aunt of killing his children with the power of her black magic.
“I have killed her with her younger son’s gun. She has killed my two children and now my younger brother is her next target. 
“She was doing all these in front of us and I could not tolerate it anymore. She had cursed and killed my two children after their birth so I have killed her with a gun. I was alone,” Mongal confessed.                        
Kanyapati is survived by her husband and three children.
The incident came to light after the victim's husband lodged a police complaint.
In the complaint, he also stated that the neighbours often accused his wife of practising witchcraft.
“Pratikbabu had killed my wife, there was no one else. I had informed the chairman (village head) of this.”
“I do not have any enemy in this area. He held my wife responsible for the deaths and sufferings in his house suspecting her as witch. I have told police and both father and son have been nabbed,” said Biswa Kumar Debbarma, the victim’s husband.
Bijoy Debbarma, stepson of the victim said:  “They branded her as a witch on the basis of a claim made by a quack doctor. 
“Later we brought the quack and asked him about this. Following that, we had a quarrel with Pratikbabu and yesterday Mangal Charan had shot her. One Soumen had identified him (Mangal Charan) and informed police.”
About 50 women have lost their lives over the last few years in Tripura for their suspected witchcraft practice.