Nayagarh/ Ranpur: In a shocking incident, a couple was brutally assaulted Saturday evening, while the woman was molested in public in a kangaroo court at Bhaliamalei village under Ranpur police limits in Nayagarh district over suspicion that they practiced witchcraft practice and sorcery.
According to reports, the kangaroo court warned the couple, Basant Dihudi, 40, and his wife, of dire consequences if they dared to report the matter to the police.
Family members rescued Basant in critical condition and admitted him to Ranpur community health centre. On being informed, police rushed to the spot and arrested 13 persons, identified as Mahadev Pradhan, 35, Nalu Nayak, 35, Manas Dihudi, 45, Madhu Nayak, 55, Pabitra Nayak, 62, Braja Dihudi,50, Raj Dihudi,48, Gokul Dihudi,62, Biranchi Dihudi,40, Purna Nayak,30, Kalia Dihudi,25, Maheswar Pradhan,60 and Dibanadhu Dihudi, 50, in this connection and produced them in court.
The court rejected their bail pleas and remanded them to judicial custody. The police crackdown has sent a chill down the spines of the villagers. Fearing arrest, most villagers have fled the village.
Basant sustained critical injuries with blisters developing on his hands after the members forcibly put his hands in boiling water to prove his innocence.
The incident occurred after a village priest claimed a woman Bani Nayak was possessed by an evil spirit. Soon after, the villagers convened a kangaroo court and held Basant and his wife responsible for the development. The villagers barged into their house and before they could understand anything, their limbs were tied and they were dragged on the village road to the temple.
Though the couple pleaded their innocence, the irate villagers abused them and thrashed them mercilessly. They even tried to disrobe his wife and molested her when she resisted their advances.
The villagers forced Basant to put his hands in boiling water to prove his innocence. He was continuously beaten while his hands were dipped in boiling water.
When Basant’s condition deteriorated, the villagers asked him to apologise, leaving the couple at their mercy.