Woman branded a witch, set on fire by son & daughter-in-law (India)

Yagnesh Mehta, Times of India, Aug 7, 2011,

Residents of Tekra Falia locality in Navsari district’s Chikhli village woke up to the screams of 65-year-old Jasuben Lad in the wee hours of Saturday. She was allegedly set on fire by her son Narottam and his wife Niru while sleeping. Jasuben’s 70-year-old husband Vallabhbhai was present in the house, but before he could help her, she had sustained severe injuries on the upper parts of her body. 

The accused were calling Jasuben a witch and shouting for her death. Their neighbours rushed to help the victim and doused the fire. She was rushed to Valsad Civil Hospital where the victim gave a dying declaration before a magistrate. Doctors told police that the victim’s condition was critical as she had suffered over 60 per cent burns.

Jasuben in her statement said that her son and daughter-in-law sprinkled kerosene on her when she was sleeping and then set her ablaze. She shouted for help, but the accused did not help her, she said in her statement. Vallabhbhai alone had accompanied Jasuben to hospital.

Police investigation revealed that Niru had been suffering from some illness and the couple used to consult a witch doctor. The witch doctor told them that Jasuben was a witch and that they need to remove her from their life. On not finding any other way to remove Jasuben, the couple set her on fire, police said, adding that an attempt to murder case has been registered against the accused.

“We have started investigation in the case,” superintendent of police, Navsari, J R Mothaliya said.

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