AN only child was still reeling from shock yesterday after her father was taken by a group of men and died from injuries he came home with on Monday night.
Manisha Devi, 16, said she could not believe that her dad and closest friend — Vasu Dewan Naidu — had been removed from her life.
A few minutes before his death at the Lautoka Hospital that night, she said her dad turned to her and pleaded with her not to leave him.
The deceased, of Nawaicoba settlement in Nadi, was alleged to have been attacked by men who suspected him of practising witchcraft.
In an interview with his family at their Nadi home yesterday, Manisha, 16, said they could not believe what happened to her father.
"Papa drank grog with his friends most of the time at home and it was a norm that before drinking his first bowl, he would offer it to our God," Ms Devi said.
"They thought that when he did this, he was practising witchcraft. This, we believe, was why he was attacked.
"I miss him very much. I was very close to him."
Manisha, a Form Six student, said despite his injuries she had high hopes he would survive.
"From home all the way to Lautoka, I made myself believe that papa would survive.
"That night we took him to hospital, he was holding on to me.
"In hospital, he was staring at me and told me 'don't leave me, don't leave me'. Now he is gone.
"Although he is not here with us anymore, we just want justice to prevail because he suffered a lot."
Wife Kamal Kanta said on Monday afternoon about 5.30pm a man called to say they were going to Suva and asked him to join them.
"When he refused, they kept calling," she said.
Mrs Kanta said her husband was on his way to his neighbour's place when a vehicle picked him.
She said a few hours later he returned home and slept inside a room with the lights on.
"He was wearing only a towel but was struggling to sleep. I asked him if he had headache and he said he did.
"I then applied some oil on his head and this was how I discovered the injuries. I saw a swell at the back of his head.
"I asked him what was wrong and I then went to his mother and we both asked him what was wrong.
"He then told us he was bashed up."
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro confirmed the 49-year-old carpenter was a victim of an alleged serious assault case.
She said in a statement that six men were being questioned for their alleged involvement in the case.
"The initial report of assault was reported to the Nadi Police Station when the victim was found lying injured at his house by his brother," Ms Naisoro said.
"It is alleged he was assaulted after being accused of practising witchcraft."
Investigations are continuing and a post mortem examination will be conducted soon.