A group of villagers in Andhra Pradesh allegedly murdered a tribal man and set him ablaze as they suspected him of practising witchcraft. The villagers allegedly set the body ablaze on Saturday night, in an attempt to hide evidence.

The deceased was identified as V Nayakamma alias Nayak. Nayak worked as a farmer in Pulaguda village of Andhra Pradesh and was allegedly being held responsible for the death of another villager K Ramesh.

Around three weeks ago, Ramesh passed away due to an illness. Ramesh’s villagers and relatives allegedly started blaming Nayak for his death even as his wife claimed that he (Ramesh) died due to illness.

Allegedly, the relatives and villagers believed a tantrik from Odisha who claimed that Nayak had performed witchcraft to murder Ramesh as he wanted to take revenge. The alleged tantrik told the villagers that Nayak had cast spells on Ramesh to make him fall sick, The Times of India reported.

Blinded by superstition, around 15 people from the village went to Nayak’s home at around midnight on Saturday and allegedly thrashed him. The accused took the body of the farmer to a secluded area where they burned it, to hide evidence.

On Sunday, police learned about the case and reached the village. The police booked 15 people for their involvement in the farmer’s murder. Some of the accused allegedly managed to flee from the spot. As per the police, the Tribal villages located along the Andhra-Odisha border still believe in black magic.

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