SHILLONG | Mar 09:
Superstition revolving around witchcraft has once again raised its ugly head in the state of Meghalaya and this time, a precious life was lost and two others were seriously injured in a mob attack.
One youth lost his life while the two others were seriously injured after they were beaten up by a mob who accused them as ‘menshohnoh’ (practicing witchcraft) near Syntung village in East Khasi Hills on Sunday evening.
The incident took place yesterday when nine of the youths from Madanriting in Shillong had gone to Syntung for a picnic.
The deceased, who was killed in the incident, has been identified as Macmillan Kharshandy of Lumbasuk while the two others, who received head injuries were identified as Ricky Dkhar (26) of Lumjingsuk and Teiborlang Kharbyngar (25) of Madanriting.
The other six youths were identified as Alfready Sohtun, Vishal Deb Verma, Bijay Singh, Rohit Suting, Banteilang Kahrumnuid and Pappu Deka.
One of the youths who managed to escape told reporters that they had gone to Syntung for a picnic to celebrate the birthday of one their friends, who was part of the ill-fated group.
Talking to reporters at Civil Hospital, he said that after the picnic, they had planned to come back to Shillong from Syntung adding that instead of taking the road leading to Shillong, they had gone in the wrong direction.
“Initially, we were stopped by some people who questioned our visit, identities and motives. After this, two sumo vehicles suddenly blocked our way. The mob first pulled the driver out of our vehicle. We had no option but to run into the jungle since we realized that they were planning to kill us as each one of them were armed,” one of the youths said.
According to him, six of them managed to flee into a nearby jungle while the other three were caught by the mob. “We were inside the jungle till 5 am this morning,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources informed that the incident took place at around 5.30 pm adding that the youths lost their way when they reached Mawkhoh village.
“Instead of taking right, they went to the left and reached Mawsna village. It was when they reach Pashang village where they were gheraod by the mob,” sources said.
Sources said that after this, the panic-driven youths managed to temporarily escape and drove till Lad Mawlang but, on reaching this place, the angry mob caught hold of three of them while the remaining six managed to flee away to the nearby jungle.
Sources further added that the angry mob lynched one of the youths while two other were seriously injured adding that the police took over the two injured persons at around 9.30 pm on Sunday.
When contacted, Sordar of Syntung, R Pale said that the elders of the villages had tried to control the mob who had gathered at Lad Mawlang.
“But they failed to control the situation since the mob was not agreeing to listen to them. It is sad that one of the youths was killed by the angry mob,” Pale added.
Meanwhile, East Khasi SP, Claudia A. Lyngwa said that the police received the information about the incident late in the evening of the Sunday when one of the doctors informed the police about the situation.
“When we reached the spot we found that one of them was already dead while the other two were seriously injured. We rushed to bring the two injured to Shillong Civil Hospital,” Lyngwa said.
According to her, rumours had spread in the area that there was a vehicle of ‘menshohnoh’ which is floating around in the area.
The SP informed that the second police team which was coming behind began to search for the six others who were hiding in the nearby forest.
“We did managed to call them. But they were not able to tell the police their exact location. It was only early in the morning they were finally able to rescue all the six youths who were hiding in the nearby forest,” she said.
Lyngwa further stated that the police will have to make an arrest of the people who are behind this attack against the nine youths which led to death of one of them.
“People cannot just take law into their own hand. It is really unfortunate that such incident is taking place,” she said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui said that he will seek a report from the police on the incident. “I strongly condemn this incident. How can people take away the life of other people in this way. Action would be taken against those who are responsible for this unfortunate incident,” Rymbui said.