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In the first ever conviction under Maharashtra’s anti-superstition and black magic act, a Nashik court has held 11 people guilty of killing two sisters on suspicions of them being possessed by evil spirits. The district and sessions judge U M Nandeshwar on Tuesday (December 5) sentenced the convicts to life imprisonment.

The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act came into force in 2013. The accused were booked under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.

The two sisters—Budhibai Dore and Kashibai Veer were beaten to death by the convicts in Take Harsh village of the Nashik district in 2014. Bacchibai Khadke (42) and Veer (40), two of the convicts, told the villagers that the sisters are possessed by evil spirits, due to which a third person Sanibai Nirgude remained childless. Khadke and Veer also blamed Budhibai’s daughter Ranibai Pingale had helped her mother and her aunt.

The two sisters were severely beaten up by the accused on October 30, 2014 to drive out the spirits from them. However, Pingale managed to save herself and escaped from there. She later lodged a police complaint. According to the prosecution, the two sisters were buried by the accused.

All the 11 convicts are residents of Take Harsh village, Naseda Veerwadi, Mokhada and Dandwal in Palghar district. Apart from Bacchibai Khadke, the other convicts were Laxman Budha Nirgude (30), Narayan Shiva Khadke (42), Waman Hanumanta Nirgude (40), Kisan Budha Nirgude (39), Hari Budha Nirgude (30), Sanibai Budha Nirgude (65), Bugibai Mahadu Veer (35), Mahadu Krishna Veer (40), Govind Punaji Dore (31) and Kashinath Punaji Dore (31).

—India Legal Bureau

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