A court in Odisha’s Jajpur district on Thursday sentenced 17 people to life imprisonment for burning an elderly couple to death after suspecting them of performing black magic.
The incident happened at Sukinda block of Jajpur district in July 2020.
The deceased couple — Shaila Balamuch and his wife Sambari, were residents of Nimapalli village in Jajpur district.
The convicts have also been asked to deposit a fine of Rs 10,000 each which will be paid to the deceased’s next of kin as compensation by the District Legal Services Authority.
The court, after examining the statements of 20 witnesses, pronounced the judgement on Thursday.
“When a distant relative of the deceased couple died in the tribal-dominated village, the convicts held them responsible for it and alleged that the couple had killed the person by performing some black magic. On July 19, 2020, the mob gathered at the house of the deceased couple. The angry mob first put their house on fire and later threw them into the fire by tying their limbs,” said Special Public Prosecutor Rajat Kumar Rout.
Based on the complaint lodged by the deceased persons’ relative, the police registered a case the next day and arrested 17 people on charges of burning the couple to death.
The accused have been under judicial custody till now since their arrest.