Allegations of witchcraft heard in Nausori Highlands trial

January 5, 2022 5:54 am


The brother of the late Nirmal Kumar, alleged in the Lautoka High Court that an audio recording of the accused Mohammad Isoof talking to the family was about witchcraft.

Rajesh Kumar was the 52nd prosecution witness that took the stand late yesterday evening, in the alleged Nausori Highlands murder trial.

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The recording was played in court and the prosecutors asked Kumar to verify and identify who all were talking.

Kumar said he recognized the voices and it was of the accused Isoof and the family members.

He told the court that he only came to know about the recording from the Police two years ago.

He was then asked to translate the conversation and according to the witness, the recording was allegedly about witchcraft as they had found a red cloth.

He said the two that were talking in particular were the accused and the late Usha Devi.

Kumar further claims that from the recording, Isoof and Devi were also not talking in their normal speaking voice.

He alleged that Devi was talking as if she was possessed.

During the cross-examination, the defence asked Kumar when did he know about the rumors of witchcraft at Nausori Highlands.

The witness said he only found out after hearing the recording.

It was then put to Kumar the recording was from the 11th of August 2019 and the accused wasn’t even there to which the witness said it was Isoof’s voice.

The defence said that Kumar was mistaken and that he picked his client as he was trying to blame him for the family’s death.

However Kumar said that he was not blaming Isoof but he could hear his voice in the recording.

He was also asked whether he performed witchcraft to which Kumar said that he doesn’t.

The defence then asked Kumar that since he didn’t perform or know anything about witchcraft, how would he know it was about it.

Kumar told the court that it was because of how Devi was allegedly possessed and spoke about a red cloth.

In the re-examination, the witness was asked how he knew it was witchcraft.

Kumar said anyone could tell it was witchcraft, especially the way Devi was allegedly speaking, asking for grog and clapping.

Isoof is charged with five counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

It is alleged that in August 2019, Mohammad Isoof murdered three adults and two children and attempted to murder an 11-month old by abandoning her at Nausori Highlands, Nadi.

The bodies of a 63-year-old carpenter, Nirmal Kumar, his 54-year-old wife, Usha Devi, their 34-year-old daughter, Nileshni Kajal and her two daughters Sana aged 11, and Samara, 8 were all found near a cliff.

The trial has been adjourned until tomorrow.