Sukumar Mura had a dream.
As dreams go it was pretty odd. In it Jawarhalal Mura was possessed by daemons which lead to the suffering of the people of a small adivasi village in Cachar, Assam.
He told others about his dream on Thursday, so they dragged Jawarhalal from his house, tied him to a tree near the temple and beat him. Jawarhalal died soon after. The villagers buried the body at the temple then went on dancing and chanting hymns until the police arrived to retrieve the body. The mob was driven by a superstitious belief that the man possessed ‘evil spirits’ and that his presence in the village was ‘dangerous’.
The police had to use force to get hold of the body and so far 11 people have been arrested.
Witch-hunts are common enough in Assam in the tribal regions. Roughly 80 people have been killed over the past 5 years in witchcraft related murders.
While this may be a far cry from mainstream religion and indeed be the superstitious beliefs of an impoverished and uneducated group of people, we must remember how easy it is to fall into the same sort of traps when we believe in a religious belief blindly and when we place an inordinate amount of emphasis on natural phenomenon.