Melli, May 11: In a shocking incident, 77 year old woman was beaten up by her neighbours on the suspicion of being a ‘witch’. The incident related to superstition took place at Melli town in South Sikkim on the night of May 8.
According to the police compliant lodged by the victim, Bal Kumari Sharma, she was sleeping at her home when three of her neighbours entered her house at around 8pm and started beating her.

“I was lying on my bed; first two girls entered my room and started physically abusing me saying that I practise witchcraft. I was taken aback and could not utter a word. Later another man joined them. They repeatedly alleged that I practice black magic and that I should stop possessing them. This was both surprising and humiliating for me,”

House of Bal Kumari Sharma

“I was lying on my bed; first two girls entered my room and started physically abusing me saying that I practise witchcraft. I was taken aback and could not utter a word. Later another man joined them. They repeatedly alleged that I practice black magic and that I should stop possessing them. This was both surprising and humiliating for me,” informed Bal Kumari Sharma while talking with SIKKIM CHRONICLE.
Police arrested the man Arun Pradhan and later released on bail while the other two girls- Durga and Laxmi Pradhan has been admitted in hospital (CRH) suspecting mental illness. All three are siblings.

Kalpana Sharma, daughter in law of the victim said that she was shocked to witness that even their parents did not stop them from beating her mother in law.
“It was surprising that the parents instead of stopping their children did not let us intervene,” she added.The family members of the victim also alleged that the police was reluctant to lodge the compliant initially.“Only a General Diary was lodged but not the FIR. It was on the next day after we met South District SP, Manish our FIR was taken,” said the son of the victim, Arjun Kumar Sharma.

A case under different sections has been registered against three people.
Pushpa Lama, one of the neighbours said that she reached the house of the victim after hearing a noise but was not allowed to enter inside by the family members of the accusers.

While speaking with Sikkim Chronicle over the phone, the South District SP, Manish Verma said that the police immediately acted upon the compliant and that the victim was taken for treatment at a Primary Health Centre.
He assured that a proper police investigation would be carried.

“This incident proves that no matter how much advanced we become but the taboo and belief like this will always remain as a big social problem. It is always the weaker and the vulnerable sections who are subjected to this kind of shaming”, said DK Lepcha, a social worker based in Gangtok.
“There is as such no local law to punish the culprits on this matter, police has to register a case under different IPC sections,” said a senior police officer. Meanwhile, the father of three, TB Pradhan who works in police department said that he is apologetic on the act of his son and daughters which he says is very unfortunate.

“I would like to tender an apology on behalf of my children and I am ready to bear the cost of the treatment whatsoever needed,” he said.
According to him, his eldest daughter Durga Pradhan had just returned Sikkim from Israel on May 5.

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