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The idea behind this blog is to collect information on the death penalty in India and make it accessible. We are trying our best to put the latest information on the people who are currently on death row, the status of their cases, their mercy petitions and also the information on any death sentence across the country. Please feel free to write us and give us your suggestions and comments and also any information you have come across regarding the death penalty in India. Our email id is abolishdeathpenaltyindia@gmail.com The blog is currently managed by Grace Pelly, Lara Jesani, Nitu Sanadhya, Rebecca Gonsalvez, Reena Mary George and Vijay Hiremath. Kindly mark copies of the emails to: vijayhiremath@gmail.com reena.mary.george@univie.ac.at

Monday, June 22, 2009

'Village court pronounces death penalty on witch'

The people of Dumurkotha, a tribal village, finally realized on Tuesday that the 3 women, branded as witches, will just not be able to revive Mamoni Murmu, who died on Saturday. Also, the kangaroo court sentenced one of the women, it described as the chief witch, to death. And, the village chiefs decided to bury Mamoni, as stench from her nearly decomposed body was creating problems.

They will also hold a kangaroo court regarding the action to be taken against the 3 women Sombari Mandi, Mukhi Mandi and Arati Murmu who had been locked up in a room with Mamoni's corpse since Saturday night and were released after 3 days.

"Mamoni went to bathe in a pond on May 30 with her maternal aunt. After that, she fell sick. We came to know that those three witches used evil forces with Mamoni's hair as strands of that were found on the soap she had used for her bath," said Baidyanath Murmu, Mamoni's father.

That was enough to sow the seeds of superstition. For, some of the villagers alleged that Mamoni mumbled the names of the 3 witches' repeatedly. Dumurkotha became dead sure that the 3 witches were responsible for Mamoni's death. Witch doctor, Uday Mondal, of Andharjora village, too, accused the 3 women of killing the girl.

On Tuesday, villagers freed Mukhi Mandi and Arati Murmu and identified Sombari Mandi as the chief witch, who was sentenced to death. She tried her best to convince the village chiefs and the villagers that it was a conspiracy against her. But nobody paid attention to her cry and some annoyed villagers even beat her up and none came to Sombari's rescue.

"I just got the information from your end. Actually, that area is troubled. I will try to send staff from the Binpur-I BDO office," said Narayan Swaroop Nigam, the West Midnapore district magistrate, on Monday.

Police did not come, citing their boycott by the villagers. Sombari, who was subjected to two hours of mental and physical torture by the kangaroo court, somehow managed to flee from the village. "The district administration will provide her with security if Mandi wants to live there again," assured Nigam.

(Source: The Times of India, 10 June)

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