A preliminary report on the infamous Dhegani Devi Mahato case claims that her death was in fact a planned murder. Mahato was accused of being a witch and burnt alive in Madi, Chitwan on 17 February.
Police in Chitwan said that the statements of eyewitnesses and their own investigations clearly show that it was planned murder. “It has been learnt that the murder was in fact planned,” said head of the investigation team, Bhopal Kumar.
According to Kumar, the main reason behind the murder was a family dispute over the ownership of land. “Dhageni Devi had become a victim of her domineering and egoistic relatives,” Kumar said. “A detailed description of the incident as narrated by locals shows that the family of Bikana Mahato, Dhageni´s brother-in-law, had plotted to kill her,” he added.
An eyewitness said Dhageni was attacked from behind while she was headed for the toilet. “They were beating her up right in front of me and when I shouted out they tried to thrash me as well; soon they poured kerosene over her and set her on fire, in front of my own eyes,” he said.
While investigation of the case is still on-going, Kumar said it is almost certain the murder was planned by Bikana´s family. “All the suspects arrested have been giving their statements to police. We should soon reach a conclusion,” he said.