Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Panic gripped Odisha’s Gajapati district following the brutal killing of two persons who were burnt to death by the irate people of two villages for allegedly practising sorcery.
While the police have arrested 12 persons, efforts are on to nab the remaining accused involved in the gory incident.
According to reports, the people of Badeguda and Paderama villages under Dambaguda panchayat had been suspecting two persons—Subas Mallick (57) and Pitala Majhi of Paderama village— for practising sorcery.
Subas was a well-known quack of his village and nearby areas. Besides, people from various areas of Gajapati, Ganjam and Kandhamal used to take ayurvedic medicines from him.
However, the villagers started suspecting Mallick for practising sorcery following the death of some villagers in the last five years.
On May 22, people of Badeguda and Paderama villages had called on a sorcerer of Daspalla to identify the sorcerer of their area.
The sorcer, after reaching the villager, performed his Khatavidya formula. Later, the Khata (wooden cot) was taken on a procession around Paderama village. The khata , during the procession, halted near the house of Subas, Pitala and another villager, Sami.
The villagers, later in a meeting asked the three villagers to pay a penalty of Rs 60,000 each for practising sorcery.
The villagers let off Sami after he paid Rs 50,000 and promised to pay the rest Rs 10,000.
Later, they went to the house of Subas and Pitala and asked them to pay the penalty to which they expressed their inability.
Enraged, the a group of villagers, severely thrashed the duo and threatened their family members with dire consequences. The panicked family members of Subas and Pitala later ran away from their houses out of fear.
The irate villagers later took the duo to the village cremation ground where they tied them upside down to a nearby tree and set them on fire.
After committing the crime, they threatened the villagers to face the same consequence if they divulged the incident.
However, following a complaint by Rajib Mallick, son of Subas, with the Adaba police, a team of police, led by IIC Anam Lakhra rushed to the village on Monday and collected the bones and ashes from the cremation ground.
Police later arrested 12 persons after registering cases under Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act.
Meanwhile, all male members of Badeguda and Paderama villages have deserted their house for fear of arrest, the reports added.