National sportswoman Javelin-thrower Debjani Bora became the latest victim of a 'witch-hunt' in her village in Assam, and was severely tortured by a mob earlier this week.
Bora, a native of Cherekali, a remote village in the north-eatsern state, said she was tied up and beaten inside a community hall by locals, who thought she was responsible for several deaths in the village.
"In the last few months, a number of deaths occurred in our village. Some people, including a jilted lover, committed suicide, while some died as a result of alcoholism. The locals thought a witch was at work. So, special rituals were arranged at the village 'naamghar'. During the chanting of hymns and mantras, the naamgharia Radha Laskar suddenly pounced on me, grabbing me from behind and started yelling that I was the witch responsible for the deaths and diseases," Bora told The New Indian Express.
"They put me inside a couple of fishing nets and started raining blows. I saved my life by managing to flee but not before sustaining injuries on the chest and back," she said.
This shocking incident highlights that the practice of witch-hunt is still practised in several villages in the country, and 90 people, mostly women, have reportedly been killed, by beheading, being burnt alive or stabbed to death after being labelled as 'witches' over the last five years, according to BBC.
One person was arrested on Thursday in connection with the assault on Bora, 51. Bora has won several medals in javelin throwing, including a gold medal in the 2011 athletics national masters.