A year of superstitions and lynch-mobs

2013: Rewind

SHILLONG: The year 2013 of the 21st century could be called a year of superstitions  in Meghalaya. Many accused of witchcraft lost their lives. The first case of witchcraft in the year 2013 in Meghalaya was reported in April  when around four thousand villagers hailing from various villages within Sawymper area under Mawsynram, East Khasi attacked and set on fire the two-storied residential building of a prominent businessman of the area Tremlin Nongsiej of Mawryngkang village after accusing him of practising witchcraft. The police also arrested nineteen people including a woman in connection with this incident.
Again in the month of July, residents of Mawryngkang near Wahkdait village in Pynursla forced one Noping Khongsit, also alleged to be practising witchcraft, to eat human excreta. The family of Noping Khongsit was penalised by the local Dorbar on the plea that they were practising witchcraft (men ai ksuid).This allegation against Noping was made by four young girls of the village who claimed that they were suffering from unusual diseases because of Khongsit’s witchcraft.
There was no respite to such cases. Another suspected case of witchcraft came to light in West Khasi Hills with one Sran Marngar (57), believed to be a worshipper of the Thlen ( python) or ‘Menshohnoh’ being severely assaulted by an angry mob after he was accused of kidnapping an infant at Nongstoin market.
Taking serious note of the unabated cases of witch craft in Meghalaya,  the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)  issued notices to the authorities of East Khasi Hills district in connection with a case in which a man was allegedly forced to eat human excreta by the village dorbar. .
Despite the NHRC notice, there was no let-up in such incidents as soon thereafter a man was forced to eat dog excreta by his relatives after he was suspected of invoking evil spirits.
The incident happened at Mawting Sohryngkham , East Khasi Hills, on July 30 and Halorsing Kharumnuid (46) suffered from mob brutality before he was let off with warnings. Police, meanwhile, acting on an FIR arrested seven out of the eight accused including a woman.
In another inhuman incident, three members of a family were hacked to death allegedly for practising witchcraft (Men-ai-ksuid) in Smit  in August .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.
Twelve vehicles including one police vehicle and the ADM’s vehicle were damaged when the police reached the village. Later, police arrested twelve persons in this connection including six women.
In another shocking case, the decision of 26-year-old Testiphul Paliar from Dum shohksoin village, near Rambrai in West Khasi Hills to change her denomination landed her in jail after her relatives along with the Dorbar allegedly implicated her in a false case besides ostracizing her. Paliar, who secured bail had stated that changing her denomination from Presbyterian to Christian United landed her in trouble so much that the mother of two was even deprived of the right to know the whereabouts of her children. Even after Paliar was released from Shillong jail on November 14, she was denied entry into the village.

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