Home STATE Three arrested for torturing suspected ‘witches’ in Odisha village

Three arrested for torturing suspected ‘witches’ in Odisha village

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Ganjam, Jan 21:

Odisha police arrested three members of a mob that tonsured and tortured eight fellow villagers, including two girls, and forcing them to eat human excreta after accusing them of witchcraft in Ganjam district of Odisha.

tonsuring of head

The police have detained three culprits from the village named Ramchandra Behera, Prashant Nayak and Tareni Nayak following the incident and subsequently arrested them.

“The police have lodged a FIR under section 341, 294, 325, 342, 354, 355, 307, 506 and 34 of IPC in case number-7/2015 and investing the case. They arrested will be presented in the court today,” said ASP of Brahmapur Sashi Bhusan Satapathy.

In an inhuman incident, a kangaroo court in the Olapur village under Ramchandrapur Panchayat of Chikti block in Ganjam district had ordered shaving of the heads of eight fellow villagers to offend and shame them in public. Five of them had it even harsher as the mob beat them up severely, broke their teeth and forced them to eat human excreta.

Ironically, this dastardly act has taken place in a district which happens to be the home district of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The victims have been identified as Mohan Sahu (70), Subash Behera (23), Keuta Behera (28), Amar Behera (18), Kartik Behera (35), Dandapani Behera (48), Jhunu Behera (19) and Sushma Behera (20).

The village had remained tense following the untimely demise of seven/eight of its members. However, the frustration of the villagers erupted following an incident when a lady, ostensibly possessed by a goddess, blamed the deaths on witchcraft and pointed it out to certain villagers.

The villagers had a meeting on January 18 night to discuss the issue. The victims were called out of their homes on the morning of January 19 to a nearby Hanuman Mutt and the barbaric act was carried out in the presence of everyone.

One of the victims, Dandapani Behera, somehow managed to escape and report the incident to local cops at Dhanghar Police Outpost. While the rest of the victims have fled the village out of fear, one is still under treatment at Brahmapur District Headquarters Hospital.

“I was not aware about anything. I was called out of home and was asked to go to the mutt. I was abused, beaten up, my head was partly depilated and my teeth were broken without any reason,” rued Mohan Sahu from his hospital bed in Brahmapur.