Witch Hunts In The News

Two Indian Men Burned Alive On Suspicion Of Sorcery

Two men in Bhadrachalam, India, Vade Dharmaiah and Sunnam Magaiah of Vissapuram village, were burned alive in the late hours of Friday night, Sept. 9th, on suspicion that the two men were practicing witchcraft.

According to reports, an elderly gentleman named Vade Pasaiah (80) died of old age on August 30th. Another person, Vade Mutaiah (35), succumbed to TB on August 31st. Pasaiah’s sons, Veerabhadra Rao, Chander Rao, Venkatesh and Ramulu suspected that their father died due to witchcraft practiced by Dharmaiah.

Sources said the villagers allegedly led by the family members of the former sarpanch raided the houses of Mangaiah and Dharmaiah. They thrashed Dharmaiah after tying him to a tree. To save his own life, Dharmaiah reportedly told them that it was Sunnam Mangaiah who practised witchcraft on their father. Following the disclosure, Pasaiah’s sons forcibly brought Mangaiah to the place and tied him to a tree.

“They whisked them away, took them to the banks of a stream near the village and severely beat them up with sticks and stones,” sources said.

They also beat the daughter and son-in-law of Mangaiah when they went to the latter’s rescue. The pleas of Susheela, daughter of Mangaiah, to spare her father’s life were ignored by the angry mob who poured kerosene on Dharmaiah and Magaiah and set them on fire. Pasaiah’s sons reportedly threatened to kill Mangaiah’s wife if she disclosed anything pertaining to the incident.

The two men were reduced to ashes on Saturday when police visited Vissapuram upon information based upon a complaint lodged by Dharmaiah’s son, Vade Babu. Rural sub-inspector Ramesh and trainee SI Mallaiah visited the spot where the two men were burned alive in the forest. Bhadrachalam tahsildar Ch Babu Rao enquired about the whereabouts of the attackers, but found villagers tight-lipped and unwilling to discuss the incident.

No arrests have been made as the suspects have reportedly fled the village after carrying out the barbaric killing of Vade Dharmaiah and Sunnam Magaiah. Police are on the lookout for 30 suspects in connection with the murder of two men.

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