Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Jul 24:
Taking suo motu cognizance of the killing of six members of a family in Odisha’s Keonjhar district on the suspicion that they were practising witchcraft, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police to reply in two weeks.
The apex Rights body observed that the contents of the media reports raise a serious issue of human rights violation of the victim and his family.
It may be recalled that six members, including a woman and four children, of a tribal family were found brutally hacked to death on July 13 inside their house at Munda Sahi village atop the Lahanda Hill under Joda police station limits in Keonjhar district.
The villagers believed that the wife of slain Gura Munda was practicing witchcraft and casting spells on the neighbours’ children. They were also angry with Gura Munda that he took his children to a local hospital for treatment without consulting a Rawadia (witch doctor).
The killers included the elder brother of Gura Munda and his neighbour among others. Though, just four kilometer away from the town of Joda, villagers in Mundashahi did not have much faith in modern medicine. They perform a ‘puja’ with the witch doctor before taking their ailing children to the nearest hospital.
The state police had accorded Red Flag category status to this heinous killing and arrested at least 10 accused involved in the incident.