Tribal "witch" couple ostracised from village

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Hooghly, Mar 30 (UNI) A couple from Saranpur village of the district under Polba police station has been ostracised from the village on suspicions of them being witches.

ASP Debashis Boral today said that Saraswati and Ganesh Murmu were tortured and threatened to leave the village last night after they failed to attend a tribal meeting earlier last evening.

The couple fled from Saranpur early this morning fearing further attacks on them.

Mr Boral informed that the couple had lodged an FIR instead of attending the village meeting last night. He assured that investigation was on and if the couple were to seek police protection they would be given the same.

The village tribal leader Bimal Murmu told the police that the couple were believed to be witches and added, ''A few days back, Saraswati was offering prayers at home and then five people died in the village. More were falling ill and suffering from severe attacks of fever. We believe it is her doinbg.'' Last evening the tribal leader had called for meeting to give his judgement on the matter, which they failed to attend. Later, the villagers broke into their home and ransacked the place and physically assaulted the couple. The villagers threatened them to leave the village or face dire consequences.

When the police went to the village today, they found their home abandoned and empty.

''We are trying to ensure their return to their home at the earliest,'' the ASP said.

However, tension persists in the district.

UNI XC LL AB 1854

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