Jharkhand: 22 get life term for burning 3 to death

Jharkhand: 22 get life term for burning 3 to death

A court here on Thursday sentenced 22 people to life imprisonment for setting a house on fire and killing three members of a family after accusing them of practising witchcraft.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (First Class) Gopal Pandey found the 22 guilty under nine sections of the Indian Penal Code, besides the Prevention of Witchcraft Act and the Scheduled Tribes Act.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of the convicts.

A mob had on April 18, 2016 surrounded a house at the Guditheka-Toli area of the district, locked it from outside and set it on fire.

Three people - Gobardhan Bhagat (70), Mado Bhagat (65) and Budhamania Bhagat (50) - died of severe burns, while a fourth member, Laldev Bhagat, escaped with injuries.

A total of 52 people were named accused in the case. Out of them, 22 were convicted on August 2 and the trial for 30 others are in progress.

According to sources, some locals, who had a personal feud with the family, branded the Bhagats as child-lifters and witches, and instigated others to attack them.