Assam Tea Garden
Representational ImageReuters

An aged tea garden worker in Assam's South Cachar district was mercilessly beaten to death by villagers on Friday in an attempt to please their Goddess. Police have arrested eleven persons, including three women, in connection with the brutal incident.

According to the natives of Kalabeelbasti, the man killed, Jawaharlal Mura was alleged to be possessed by 'evil spirits' and causing ill to the village.

"One of the residents of the village said he saw Devi Maa (a goddess) in his dream. He said the goddess told him that Jawaharlal Mura, a fellow-villager, was possessed by evil spirits and that the entire village would suffer if he stayed in the village," Police Superintendent Diganta Bora told Firstpost.

"The man shared his dream with others in the village, and a group of men caught hold of Jawaharlal Mura."

In a religious ritual on Friday, Mura was bathed, smeared with vermillion and then tied to a tree in presence of the villagers. The ceremony had around 80 men raining blows on him with repeated chants of 'Jai Maa Kali' until he breathed his last. The people were said to be frantically dancing and drinking around tied Mura's body.

Later, the villagers went on to cremate the body in a hillock not far from his home.

When police reached the spot on Saturday morning, the locals caused mayhem refusing to let police exhume the body. Officials had to resort to lathicharge to handle the situation.

"We got the information last night, but we did not want to enter the area at night, when many of the tea labourers are drunk and could cause major law and order problems," said Bora stating that this was a clear case of witch-hunting.

However, the police have nabbed 11 persons related to the incident, three of whom are women. The arrested are being interrogated while Mura's body has been sent to Silchar Medical College Hospital for post mortem.