Things took a turn for the worse for an elderly woman and her husband after they stepped out of their house in a village in Ranchi district of Jharkhand in the wee hours of Tuesday. They were lynched by locals under suspicion of being practitioners of witchcraft. While the brutal attack left the woman dead on the spot, her husband succumbed in the evening.

Birsi Oraon and her husband Mangra Oraon were residents of Rogadih-Patratoli village within the territorial limits of the Bedo Police Station. According to the police, Birsi was mentally unfit. She was habitual of moving out of the house.  Around 1 am on Tuesday, she stepped out of the house, but Mangra brought her back. She again went out of the house around 4 am, when locals allegedly thrashed her to death as they suspected her of practising witchcraft. Later, they also thrashed Mangra, when he came searching for Birsi, police said.

After receiving information, police rushed to the spot and took Mangra to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, where he succumbed in the evening. He died before police could record his statement, according to a report by The Times of India.

The statement of Somra Oraon, the deceased couple‚Äôs eldest son, has been recorded. Based on his statement, an offence has been registered against 100 to 150 unidentified people for committing the crime. ‚ÄúBeating up an elderly couple to death is a cruel act. Even though we have been carrying out campaigns against witch-hunting, there are elements in the villages who are still superstitious,‚ÄĚ the TOI report quoted Jharkhand DGP MV Rao as saying.

Meanwhile, the family of the deceased couple has been given a cheque of Rs 25,000 on the instruction of Justice HC Mishra, the executive chairman of Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority.

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