An auto-rickshaw driver was allegedly beaten by a group of people with sticks, axe and stones, and thrown alive on the pyre of a woman, who they suspect died due to “black magic” by him, police said on Thursday.
The incident occurred at Adraspally village, around 40 km north of Hyderabad, on Wednesday.
A villager lodged a missing complaint about his brother following a rumour that the family members of the 45-year-old woman, whose cremation was going on, were also burning alive the 26-year-old on the same pyre, police said.
The complainant and some others went to the burial ground and identified the footwear of the missing man beside the pyre. Suspecting that the man was thrown on the pyre, they pulled out the half-burnt body, police said.
The complainant made a phone call to his brother”s mobile, but it was switched off and a police team later went to the spot.
Investigation revealed the role of the deceased woman”s relatives behind the incident and some of the suspects were picked up and interrogated, according to the police.
An inquiry revealed that the accused believed that a person who might have done sorcery on the woman was the one who caused her death, and that he will come to crematorium to do some rituals, police said.
While the last rites were on, they noticed the man, who had gone near the place to answer the nature”s call, and caught hold of him. They beat him up with sticks, axe and stones, following which he was thrown alive on the pyre and killed, police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Balanagar Zone) P V Padmaja told reporters that the woman was suffering from ill-health for the past five years.
The woman was admitted to a state-run hospital here where she was bed-ridden for the past six months. She died on Tuesday, Padmaja said.
Police, who initially registered a missing case, altered the sections to murder after establishing that the deceased man was the complainant”s brother. Four relatives of the woman were arrested on Thursday.
Underlining that there was no such thing as sorcery, the DCP advised the public to not believe in superstitions and requested them to not take the law into their hands.