GUWAHATI, Nov 29 � Life has changed its course for the worst within a week for Lalita Tanti of Dhekiajuli, who is lying in a bed at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) with severe multiple injuries after being with a machete by a family member on accusations of practising �witchcraft.�
Ironically, the incident happened a day after the police had rescued and reinstated Lalita to her village, who was made to leave the village following a public meeting on November 25 that decided to �punish� her for practising witchcraft.
A resident of no. 1 Pirakata of Dhekiajuli, Lalita Tanti was attacked on Friday night by her brother-in-law Maheswar Tanti, who had earlier also tried to malign her image as a �witch� among the villagers. The assailant entered her house when the two policemen deputed for her security and her husband, were not around.
�I was cooking in my kitchen, when he (Maheswar) entered the house and started attacking me with a machete saying that he did not have children due to my witchcraft and that I was now after his property. It is due to his incitation that the villagers started accusing me of casting spells and I was called in for several public meetings so that could decide on my punishment,� a frail Lalita told The Assam Tribune.
�I worship lord Shiva and keep dreadlocks. But since the past two years, the villagers have been accusing me of practising witchcraft. Things deteriorated for the worse with the death of an ailing infant, who was not taken to the doctor on time,� she added.
Superintendent of Police, Sonitpur, Sanjukta Parashar however, told this correspondent that it was the victim�s own decision to go back to the village, despite resistance by the police.
Incidentally, on November 27, social organization Brothers organized an awareness meeting in the village in the presence of the circle officer and OC of Dhekiajuli police station, where the villagers were asked not to believe such superstitions.
�We have been following this incident since November 25 and were successful in making them understand our point after which they accepted Lalita back to the village. Unfortunately, due to a personal grudge and property dispute, her family member attacked her,� said Dibyajyoti Saikia of Brothers. The organization has been taking care of Lalita in the GMCH by providing her with medicines and other necessary support.