In the first conviction under the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act (2013), a court here held 11 persons guilty of killing two sisters on suspicion of being possessed by evil spirits.
According to prosecution, the convicts had beaten to death two sisters - Budhibai Dore and Kashibai Veer - in Take Harsh village in tribal-dominated Igatpuri tehsil in the district in 2014.
Special public prosecutor Ajay Misar said, "This is the first conviction and punishment in Maharashtra under the anti-superstition and black magic act. Under this Act, they have been sentened to jail term ranging from five years to ten years".
The 11 convicts are - Bachhibai Narayan Khadke (42), Laxman Budha Nirgude (30), Narayan Shiva Khadke (42), Waman Hanumanta Nirgude (40), Kisan Budha Nirgude (39), Hari Budha Nirgude (30), Sanibai Budha Nirgude (65), all residents of village Take Harsh; Bugibai Mahadu Veer (35), Mahadu Krishna Veer (40), both residents of Naseda Veerwadi, Mokhada in Palghar district; Govind Punaji Dore (31) and Kashinath Punaji Dore (31), residents of Dandwal in Palghar district.
As per the prosecution case, Bachhibai Khadke and Veer told villagers that the sisters were possessed by evil spirits, which caused Sanibai Nirgude to remain childless. They also told the villagers that Budhibai's daughter Rahibai Pingale helped her mother and aunt in the vicious activity.
On October 30, 2014, the accused severely beat up the sisters in order to drive away the evil spirits from them, following which the sisters died. Rahibai, however, managed to escape.
Later, the sisters' bodies were buried by the accused, the prosecution said.
Later, Rahibai lodged a complaint with the police.