Cuttack: As many as 398 persons have died due to superstition and witchcraft practice in Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur and Keonjhar districts in the past seven years in Odisha.
Approximately, 70 percent out of total cases registered in 2017 was reported from these three districts where practice of witchcraft and black magic is on rise.
The State government on April 25, 2014 had promulgated Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act, 2013, by making provision to take action against the culprits practising the witchcraft. According to Odisha crime branch reports, total two cases in this regard were registered by end of December from April 2014 after implementation of the law.
In 2015, 58 cases were registered under the Act. Odisha registered 83 cases in 2016 and 99 in 2017. Out of total number of cases, Keonjhar district registered the highest cases with 18 and 16 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
As per a survey report conducted by a private organisation, total 398 persons have been killed over suspicion of practicing witchcraft between 2010 and 2017. If the number of crimes related to witchcraft and superstition has declined to 18 in 2017 as compared to the year 2016.
However, the crime branch report says that 25 persons were killed in 2016.
The government reports showed that the number cases were reported in Ganjam, Rayagada, Sundergarh districts along with Keonjhar and tribal districts Mayurbhanj and Nabarangpur.