Witchcraft case: Family claims being pressurized to withdraw case

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, May 26: The father of the victims of the infamous witchcraft case which was reported on 18 April last year has claimed that his family is being targeted and pressurized into withdrawing their case against the accused Cintina Moyong, her sister Osor Moyong Tayeng (wife of Bidol Tayeng, who was the then education secretary), and one Maksup Yomso.
In a letter to the East Siang chief judicial magistrate (CJM) in Pasighat on 16 May, 2018, the father, Osong Moyong, said his family has been for the last one year “continuously harassed and pressurized into withdrawing the case against the accused.” He appealed to the CJM to cancel the bail order for the five accused.
Last year, on 18 April, Osong’s daughters Onima Moyong (20) and Elina Moyong (18) were allegedly tortured and abused by the accused in the name of occult and witchcraft practices. Osong said he and his wife also suffered abuse and ill-treatment when they came to the rescue of their children.
All the accused in the case have been granted bail, although a charge sheet has already been filed against them and the trial is pending at the court of the CJM.
In his letter to the CJM, Osong said he had on 7 May 2018 lodged an FIR at the Pasighat police station against one of the accused, Ebung Moyong, who is allegedly a close aide of Bidol Tayeng, for sending him a notice asking him to either pay Rs 1 crore fifty lakhs within a week or vacate his home.
Osong also claimed that he has been sent several summons to appear before the kebang with the aim of harassing him into withdrawing the case. He said his family was facing threat and intimidation, and that he now fears for his life and property.
Toi Modi of Napit village, who had earlier lodged an FIR with the police against the accused in the case said, “The family of the victims has been unduly harassed to withdraw their case through various local clan-based organizations.”
On 3 May, Osong received an order from the East Siang deputy commissioner’s office, informing him that permission has been granted to conduct a banggo- level kebang at the Mirbuk Dere (musup) on the black magic aspect of the case, and not on the criminal aspect of it.
The order also directed him to appear for the kebang.
The order was apparently issued following a petition submitted by Osor Moyong Tayeng, Synthina Moyong, Maksup Yomso, Kadum Moyong, Aido Moyong, and Onyok Moyong on 17 April, 2018, urging the DC to grant permission to conduct a banggo-level kebang.
“In their petition the accused claimed that they were wrongly accused of witchcraft/black magic and went on to demand damages amounting to Rs 50 lakhs from each family member of Osong Moyong,” informed Toi Modi.
Claiming that the decision to conduct a kebang was unnecessary at this stage as a case is already registered and trial is still pending, Toi said the accused through their actions have instead “breached the conditions of the bail bond and committed a crime by harassing and intimidating the victim’s family.”