Residents of Umrit village in Ri Bhoi district, on June 8, apprehended three individuals suspected of practising witchcraft and made each one of them carry a tin container and walk for miles, while beating the tins along the way. This, according to the villagers, was a “walk of shame” – a kind of punishment meted out to those found practising “black magic”.

The three individuals included two women, both reported to be the clients of an alleged practitioner of black magic – an elderly man, hailing from Umkadhor village.

According to the villagers, the two women had allegedly gone to the old man, asking him to conduct some rituals. The man gave the duo some eggs and asked them to bury the eggs in front of the office of the dorbar shnong.

The villagers, who followed the trio during the march, said that they never expected the two women to resort to this act – a method, which they termed it to be connected to “black magic”. They suspected that the duo holds some grudges against the dorbar shnong or against any individual residing in the village.

Speaking to this scribe, secretary of Umrit village Ribender Thangkhiew said that the two women are residents of the village, sociable in nature and active in dorbar affairs. “This disturbing news came as a surprise to all of us. As a dorbar, we urge the residents not to resort to this kind black magic, even if they have a grudge against anyone,” said the village elder.

He further stated that their actions prompted the dorbar to take action by resorting to this kind of punishment as a warning to others who intend to do the same thing. “Such kinds of acts are not unacceptable in our village, in this day and age,” Thangkhiew added.

It may be mentioned that incidents of people being humiliated and punished, worst – killed on suspicions of practising witchcraft have been reported from across the state over the past few years, triggering widespread condemnation.