Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Gunupur, Sep 16:
There is no end to superstition-related crimes in Odisha as three more persons have been killed for allegedly practicing witchcraft.
According to reports, miscreants killed three persons of a family yesterday and burnt their bodies in a forest adjacent to Kitingi village under Putasingi police limits in Rayagada district.
The deceased have been identified as Asila Sabat, his wife and daughter.
Local police today detained eight suspects for interrogation for their alleged complicity in the gruesome crime.
Scientific team along with police would visit the spot tomorrow to investigate into the matter, sources said.
In a related development, a 52-year-old tribal woman has been hacked to death on Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of practicing witchcraft. The deceased identified as Budhabari Kisan from Saletikra village under Jamankira police limits in Sambalpur district.
She had gone to a nearby forest to graze her cattle when some miscreants beheaded her. This was narrated by the brother-in-law of the deceased who was also in the forest to feed his domesticated animals. There was a rumour in the village that she was practicing sorcery following which she was ostracized.
Notably, around 541 persons have been killed in the last 14 years for practicising sorcery.
The Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Bill 2013 was introduced to prohibit all forms of witch-hunting and other similar practices like Guni, Khata Bula, Kula Bula and Nakha Darpan. However, lack of enforcement has contributed to rise in the menace as the ill practices are continuing unabated.
It may be mentioned here that such superstitious practices are prevalent in the tribal-dominated districts like Mayurbhanj, Koraput, Sundargarh, Keonjhar and in the costal areas of Ganjam.
As per official data, a total 11 districts of the state continue to witness killing of suspected practitioners of witchcraft. Mayurbhanj sits at the top of the heap with 61 such cases between 2005-2014, followed by Malkangiri, Sundargarh and Rayagada.