Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Phulbani, May 19:
A four-member team led by Phulbani Sub Collector Balaram Mallick today began its probe into the alleged incident of practice of witchcraft at the District Headquarters Hospital premises here on Thursday to bring back to life a person who had died of snake bite.
The other members of the probe team are Kandhamal Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO), Khajuripada Tehsildar and one Revenue Inspector (RI).
“I have asked the Sub Collector and the CDMO to conduct a joint inquiry. We have also sought an explanation from the Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO) how it all happened. Because he as the supervisor is supposed to keep a watch on what is going around on the hospital campus. After getting the inquiry report we will decide on what action is needed to be taken at the administrative level in the matter,” said Kandhamal Collector D Brunda, who has ordered the Sub Collector to conduct the inquiry.
The team apart from interrogating the ADMO examined CCTV footage of the District Headquarters Hospital.
“The person had expired and his kith and kin were present in large numbers inside the hospital campus. Police were also present. It was an emotional issue. Believing that the person would spring back to life due to the witch doctor, they have tried that. It should not have happened inside the hospital campus. It has taken place and I will submit the report to the Collector today,” said Balaram Mallick, Sub Collector Phulbani.
The team probed into different aspects of the incident as to who brought the black magic practitioner to the hospital premises and why he wasn’t stopped etc.
“It should not have happened. We are inquiring into the incident at ADMO and our staff level. We will be holding a meeting to discuss the matter and if someone is found at fault action will be taken,” informed Dr Sapneswar Gadnayak, CDMO Kandhamal.
According to reports, one Golak Bihari Behera of Nediguda village in Kandhamal district was bitten by a venomous snake. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Despite undergoing treatment at the District Headquarters Hospital, he died. He was declared dead by the attending doctors at the hospital.
Unable to believe that Golak had died, his family members requisitioned the services of a witch doctor, who chanted mantras and with the help of a chicken in a vain attempt tried to draw out venom from the corpse for about four hours.