A 38-year-old software engineer was tied to chair and burnt alive by his in-laws on suspicion of performing black magic in Hyderabad. The incident happened on the outskirts of Balwanthapur village in the Jagtyala district of Telangana.
The incident occurred on Monday evening when the victim, Pagilla Pavan Kumar, had gone to visit his relatives to check on the widow of his brother-in-law, Jagan, who had recently passed away due to a heart attack.
According to police, Pavan was burnt to death as the accused suspected him to be behind the death of his Jagan, his wife Krishnaveni's brother. Jagan had died of cardiac arrest 12 days ago.
Preliminary investigations by police revealed that during a fight over some issue a couple of months ago, Pavan had threatened to kill Jagan.
Jagan and his wife Sumalatha had been expressing doubts that Pavan was trying to harm them through black magic.
When Pavan went to Jagan's house to console the family, Sumalatha sent Krishnaveni to fetch water and bolted the door of the house from inside. She, along with another woman, tied Pavan to a chair, poured petrol on him and ran out after setting him alight.
Krishnaveni told police that she noticed flames emanating from the house and heard screams of her husband. She ran towards the house and opened the door but could not enter due to thick smoke.
By the time police reached the scene, Pavan was charred beyond recognition. The body was shifted to Jagityal hospital for autopsy.
The Police have registered a case and is investigation the incident. "We are questioning the family members of Pavan and Jagan," a police officer said. However, the exact reason for the murder is yet to be ascertained
Meanwhile, in a similar incident in Kumaram Bheem district, a farmer was murdered, allegedly by the family members of a person who had died of ill-health recently. Aatram Lacchu, 40, was found in a pool of blood near his agriculture field in Tatimadara village.
His family lodged a complaint with the police against relatives of Aatram Aruj, 56, who had died of ill-health last month. His family members had blamed Lacchu for the death, suspecting he was practicing witchcraft.
Rural Telangana in the past saw many killings on the suspicion of practicing black magic.
(With inputs from agencies)