Visakapatanam: A man was beaten and later set on fire, over suspicion of having done witchcraft on two children, resulting in their deaths. The incident took place at Puttabandha village under Kuridi panchayat of Dumbriguda mandal in Vizag Agency on Tuesday night. The victim was identified as Killo Jayaram, 55 alias Joyyo, a farmer belonging to the same village.

Police are yet to confirm the incident and said, “We have not reached the spot of crime, and are yet to receive a complaint.” According to reports from various sources, two children in the village who had been suffering from vector borne diseases had died recently.

During their last rites, their family members and some villagers expressed that Joyyo was responsible for the deaths of the children. They alleged him to have done witchcraft on the children.

Some of the villagers fuelled the doubts and incited the family members. On Tuesday, relatives of the deceased children and some villagers beat up the victim. They later poured petrol on him and set him on fire, where he burnt to death. The villagers also attacked Joyyo’s family members and warned them of dire consequences.

Sources said that two years ago, some villagers attempted to kill Joyyo and had tried to slit his throat. However, he escaped the attack and had lodged a complaint against the attackers. The case is still pending with the local court.

CPM leaders claimed that the villagers killed Joyyo by branding him to be a black magic as practitioner. Witchcraft is still believed to exist in several parts of Vizag Agency and also along the Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB).

The police is expected to visit the village to ascertain what exactly happened.

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