Medininagar (Jharkhand): One person was killed and 29 others, including nine policemen, were injured today during a clash between villagers and personnel of the force which went to stop a ‘witchcraft fair’ in Jharkhand’s Palamau district.
Block Development Officer Rajesh Ekka said police had imposed prohibitive orders under Section 144 CrPC in areas under Naudihabazar police station to stop the holding of a “bhoot mela” (witchcraft fair) on the banks of Jhariwa river.
Witch doctors congregate at these fairs held from time to time and superstitious tribals go to them to rid themselves of diseases.
The villagers violated the prohibitory orders and hurled bricks and stones at policemen when they went to stop the fair during the day.
Under attack, the police fired in the air to disperse the villagers , he said.
Superintendent of Police Mayur Patel said nine people were taken into custody and the situation was now under control.
Police have launched raids to apprehend the organisers.
Official sources in Ranchi confirming the death said Chief Minister Raghubar Das has set up a two-member committee comprising Divisional Commissioner and Deputy Inspector General of Police (Palamau Division) to inquire into the incident.
Das, who has been flagging the issue of rooting out witchcraft from the state ever since the August 7 incident claimed lives of five women in Ranchi district, had late last month expressed his resolve on it and legislators cutting across party lines had backed the idea and suggested ways to do so.