Karimnagar: In a tragic incident, a couple killed their three young children and committed suicde after being accused of practising witchcraft and constantly harassed and insulted by locals.
Ganta Komuraiah and his wife Komuramma and their daughters Ellamma,10, Komuramma, 8, and Anjamma, 6, of Kandugula in Huzurabad mandal in Karimnagar district belonged to the Gangireddula community who perform the ox dance during the Sankranti festival.
Komuramma's brother and his wife fell ill a few days ago and accused Komuramma and her family of performing witchcraft on them. They made this widely known in the village and villagers began boycotting the family socially.
Komuraiah and Komuramma had denied the allegation many times and even tried to prove their innocence by putting their hands in hot oil. The mental agony of having to live with the stigma of witchcraft proved too much and on Sunday night, the parents first hanged their three daughters and then themselves in their house.
The two older daughters had been brought back to the village from an orphanage called Balasadan where they were staying and studying in a government school in Huzurabad town. Komuraiah told the children they had to take part in a community festival in the village.
Finance minister Etela Rajender visited the government hospital in Huzurabad town where the bodies were kept pending post-mortem.
The minister said the state government would take stern action against the persons who humiliated the family, branding them witches and attacked and harassed them.
He also said it was necessary to create awareness among the people that witchcraft doesn't exist and blamed illiteracy among some communities for persisting in this belief....