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2 TE women workers branded witches rescued by police

By Staff Correspondent

JORHAT, Aug 4 - An incident of branding two women as daini (witches) and their physical assault by a mob occurred at a tea garden under Deberapar Police Outpost of Mariani Police Station. The Mariani police this afternoon arrested the three women against whom the two victims had lodged an FIR at the police station.

The two victims � Maloti Bhumij and Rajmoni Bhumij � of Hooloonguri Tea Estate, who are related, were rescued by a police team of the Deberapara outpost on Saturday and are presently sheltered at the Mariani Police Station, a police source stated.

The source said that based on an FIR lodged by one of the victims, a case (No. 214/19) has been registered against three women of the Tekela Line of the tea garden, for allegedly instigating and leading the assault on the two women. The three arrested women are Salanti Bhumij, Jyoti Mirdha and Kalpana Karmakar.

The three were charged under Sections 448 (Punishment for house-trespass), 352 (Punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 506 (Criminal intimidation) and 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, the source stated.

The accused have also been booked under Section 7 of the Assam Witch Hunting Prohibition, Protection and Prevention Act of 2015, the first case under the new law to be registered at the Mariani police station, the source said.

The Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association has also filed a separate complaint with the police in connection with the incident.

According to a source, both the women who are widows and are in their fifties, were branded as witches when they were reportedly seen by other residents of Tekela Line returning home in an untidy state on Friday midnight.

Thereafter, the two women were questioned by the workers of the Tekela Line, the source said, adding that the women replied that they had gone to collect firewood late in the evening as they did not want to be spotted by the garden management.

It may be mentioned here that tea garden workers are allotted a fixed quantity of firewood by the tea garden management, and if found cutting trees or gathering firewood in the tea garden area, they are liable to be fined by the management.

However, on seeing headlights of a vehicle at about 8 pm they (both women) fled and hid themselves in a wooded area, the women reportedly claimed, the source said.

However, no one believed their claim and as soon as the rumour spread, a crowd of people gathered and tried to attack the victims, the source stated.

As the situation was deteriorating, a member of the Village Defence Party informed the police at Deberapar Outpost, following which policemen came to the spot and rescued the women.

Mariani Police Station Officer-In-Charge, Tilak Bora, when contacted, said that the three accused were arrested this afternoon and were later produced before a Magistrate of the Titabar Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate Court, who sent them to judicial custody.

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2 TE women workers branded witches rescued by police

JORHAT, Aug 4 - An incident of branding two women as daini (witches) and their physical assault by a mob occurred at a tea garden under Deberapar Police Outpost of Mariani Police Station. The Mariani police this afternoon arrested the three women against whom the two victims had lodged an FIR at the police station.

The two victims � Maloti Bhumij and Rajmoni Bhumij � of Hooloonguri Tea Estate, who are related, were rescued by a police team of the Deberapara outpost on Saturday and are presently sheltered at the Mariani Police Station, a police source stated.

The source said that based on an FIR lodged by one of the victims, a case (No. 214/19) has been registered against three women of the Tekela Line of the tea garden, for allegedly instigating and leading the assault on the two women. The three arrested women are Salanti Bhumij, Jyoti Mirdha and Kalpana Karmakar.

The three were charged under Sections 448 (Punishment for house-trespass), 352 (Punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 506 (Criminal intimidation) and 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, the source stated.

The accused have also been booked under Section 7 of the Assam Witch Hunting Prohibition, Protection and Prevention Act of 2015, the first case under the new law to be registered at the Mariani police station, the source said.

The Assam Tea Tribes Students� Association has also filed a separate complaint with the police in connection with the incident.

According to a source, both the women who are widows and are in their fifties, were branded as witches when they were reportedly seen by other residents of Tekela Line returning home in an untidy state on Friday midnight.

Thereafter, the two women were questioned by the workers of the Tekela Line, the source said, adding that the women replied that they had gone to collect firewood late in the evening as they did not want to be spotted by the garden management.

It may be mentioned here that tea garden workers are allotted a fixed quantity of firewood by the tea garden management, and if found cutting trees or gathering firewood in the tea garden area, they are liable to be fined by the management.

However, on seeing headlights of a vehicle at about 8 pm they (both women) fled and hid themselves in a wooded area, the women reportedly claimed, the source said.

However, no one believed their claim and as soon as the rumour spread, a crowd of people gathered and tried to attack the victims, the source stated.

As the situation was deteriorating, a member of the Village Defence Party informed the police at Deberapar Outpost, following which policemen came to the spot and rescued the women.

Mariani Police Station Officer-In-Charge, Tilak Bora, when contacted, said that the three accused were arrested this afternoon and were later produced before a Magistrate of the Titabar Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate Court, who sent them to judicial custody.