Two brothers were hacked to death at a Malda village by an angry mob who suspected their wives practised witchcraft .
The incident comes close on the heels of two women, including a 10-year-old girl, being beaten to death in North Dinajpur on April 3 for allegedly practising black magic.
Around 10.30 pm yesterday, a mob of tribal villagers armed with traditional weapons barged into the house of Beshaku and Sonua Pahari, both brothers, at Palasshbari village in Englishbazzar police station area in Malda.
According to police sources, the villagers were after Lakshmi Pahari, wife of Beshaku Pahari, and Sumi Pahari, wife of Sonua Pahari, whom they suspected to be witches responsible for spreading diseases in the area.
The mob first chopped both the brothers to death and severely thrashed Lakshmi Pahari and her daughter, who were later rescued by the police. Sumi Pahari managed to escape from the spot.
Block Development Officer of the area Gopal Chandra Das said: “I am told that the victim’s family believed in modern treatment, which made them unpopular in the village. Police have started investigations into the matter.”
While most men have fled the village after the incident, police have arrested three villagers.
Lakshmi and her daughter have been admitted to a local hospital.
A senior police official said, “We have arrested three villagers and we are investigating into the matter. Preliminary investigations revealed that the victims were killed due to belief in witchcraft.”