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Witch hunting force conversion to Islam

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Kokrajhar, Feb 26 (UNI) The gory practice of witch hunting among the tribal societies of Lower Assam has forced a family to convert to Islam.

The incident came to light when a court official of Dhubri district came across a petition filed by one Potendra Rabha and his family.

According to the petition, yet to come up for hearing, Potendra of Khepati village under Debitola block of Gauripur area of Dhubri district was branded a witch by his Rabha community, who blamed him for the chronic sickness of a girl of the same village.

In December,the village society declared him a witch and attacked his house at night. He managed to escape, leaving his family behind, the petition said.

Meanwhile,the villagers continued searching for him and announced a death sentence for him.

Potendra, fearing for life, started living in a Muslim dominated Char area, about 25 km from his village, and after a few weeks, his family secretly left their village and joined him.

He got himself converted to Islam and assumed the name Priyar Ali while his wife Tejimola became Taslima Begum.

At present, they live in a house given by the village society of Gege Alga village.

According to Potendra, who speaks through an intermediary fearing for his life, he had got feelers from his former community asking him to return but he would not go as a few years ago another villager Farasi Rabha was killed under similar circumstances.

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