Five beaten up for suspected 'black magic'
By Our Special Correspondent
VIJAYAWADA, JAN 27. In a bizarre incident, angry Dalits of Aluru, near Kanchikacherla in Krishna district, severely beat up five persons and removed their teeth forcibly on the suspicion that they were performing `chetabadi` leading to the death of several persons in the dalitwada in the last three years.
Mondru Das, his sister Bhagyamma and his cousin Muneyya who lost their teeth and suffered grievous injuries in the attack have been admitted to the University General Hospital here. The other two persons -- Muthamala Venkateswarlu and Chittemma -- were treated as outpatients.
The injured persons contend that the deaths occurred in their dalitwada over a period of three years due to various reasons. But the rival group held them responsible for the deaths by creating suspicion among people that they were performing `chetabadi' and attacked them to settle political scores. While a majority of the families in the dalitwada supported the TDP, a few families still favoured the Congress. The TDP faction enjoying the support of officials planned the attack on the rivals exploiting the superstition among people about chetabadi and banamati. ``Had the police not arrived on time, they would have burnt us alive,'' said Das. The victims seek protection from the Government. Meanwhile, the police registered cases against 24 persons under Sec 307 IPC.
It all began three years ago when five members of one family died in a span of 18 months making people suspect that somebody had performed chetabadi against them. Nandikole John (25), his brothers Hussain, Saidulu, father Subbaiah, and mother, Nagalakshmi, died in the dalitwada. In another family, Sangita Ramulu and Sangita Pullaiah died last year. A 17-year-old Boorugu Ramesh died five months ago. The serial deaths strengthened the suspicion of the Dalits about foul play.
In this background, word spread in the dalitwada that Mondru Das and his cousin Muneyya were seen moving naked at night dropping lemons, coconut and cloth pieces in some houses and that they were assisted by Bhagyamma and Chittemma. The villagers invited a mystic from Paloncha who `identified' four persons in the dalitwada suffering from chetabadi now and held Das and others responsible for it.
The suspicion of the villagers turned into anger when Muthamala Seetharamulu died four days ago. The angry people hauled up Venkateswarlu, brother of the deceased, and made him confess that Das and others were practising chetabadi in the village. The villagers then armed with cricket stumps, iron rods, chilli powder brought the suspects to the community centre on Thursday night and beat them up severely to admit their crime. While some held them tightly, others removed their teeth forcibly using a wrench.
The mother of Das ran to the nearby telephone booth and alerted the police who swung into action and saved the victims from the angry villagers.