By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Superstition-related atrocities against people in the State touched a chilling low on Friday night when three members of a family were hacked to death allegedly for practising witchcraft (Men-ai-ksuid) in Smit.
Three persons identified as Yesley Mawthoh, Besley Mawthoh and Enstarsing Nongdhar lost their lives when they were attacked by an angry mob in Iew Smit on the suspicion that the trio was involved in practising witchcraft. They were accused of having dumped one Lam Nongrum (24) in a river on August 15, with severe injuries. Nongrum went missing the previous day.
Interestingly, Nongrum, who is at present undergoing treatment in a city hospital, is the nephew of Yesley and Besley Mawthoh.
Nongrum reportedly named Yesley and Besley, who are also his paternal uncles, as the people who dumped him in the river. The news that the trio had performed some kind of witchcraft rituals on Nongrum spread like a wild fire.
Yesley and Besley Mawthoh (brothers in their late 60s) and Enstartsing Nongdhar (around 28), son of Yesley Mawthoh and four others came to Nongrum’s house on Friday at around 8.30pm to enquire about the situation. At this moment an angry mob stormed the house and dragged all the seven outside.
While the Mawthoh brothers and Enstartsing were killed on the spot, the remaining four managed to escape.
Till the filling of this report no one was arrested in this connection.
Meanwhile, several police personnel including East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police (City) Vivek Syiem were injured in the mob frenzy after the irate villagers pelted stones to prevent policemen from extricating the bodies of the three victims.
The angry mob did not even spare Additional District Magistrate DM Wahlang who went to the village to take stock of the situation.
Syiem, who received minor injuries in the attack, arrived at the spot after receiving a call from the OC of Madanriting. However, by then the three persons were already killed.
The mob even tried to burn the bodies but they were stopped by police.
According to the SP (City), when police entered Nongrum’s house, people started pelting stones at them. “We were surrounded by the angry mob. They wanted to take the bodies of the three from us but were unsuccessful,” Syiem said.
Twelve vehicles including one police vehicle and the ADM’s vehicle were damaged. The bodies were later sent to Shillong Civil hospital for post-mortem.
Police, meanwhile, registered three cases in this regard-murder, assault and obstruction to public servants in performing their duties. “We will ensure that people who are involved in the attack are put behind bars,” Syiem said.
The East Khasi Hills district administration has, meanwhile, ordered a magisterial inquiry to be headed by Additional District Magistrate D.M. Wahlang to probe the events leading to the murders.
Meanwhile, the villagers alleged that several people including women and children were also injured when police resorted to lathicharge to bring the situation under control.
Reacting to this Syiem said, “Lathi charge was warranted as people were behaving wild. They were not willing to cooperate with police and continued throwing stones at us.”
The villagers accused police of damaging public vehicles too. “I had no clue about the incident and on reaching the spot, some SWAT commandos came and started hitting my vehicle,” a local taxi driver said adding that in the process police damaged the windshield of his vehicle.
However, Syiem refused to accept this saying “stones were raining from all sides.”
Sordar of Dorbar Shnong of Smit village, Kynsai Manik Syiem, said, “We tried to calm the angry mob and informed police as soon as they started attacking the trio. Even the OC of Madanriting police station was unable to handle the situation.”
The Syiem of Hima Khyrim, Balajied Sing Syiem on the other hand, said that such incidents would not be tolerated adding that the dorbar would try to uncover the facts and that will happen only when Lam Nongrum, who is currently undergoing treatment, is released from hospital.