Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rayagada, Jul 13:
In yet another instance of the widespread prevalence of superstition, a tribal youth in Odisha’s Rayagada district was burnt alive by fellow villagers on suspicion of practicing witchcraft.
Sources said the tribals of Kana village under Bisamkatak police station limits suspected Jagabandhu Kalaka (26) of practicing sorcery following the death of a fellow villager Bala Kalaka, who died of an unknown disease a week ago.
On Saturday, Bala was on the way to his house in the evening after grazing the cows when 15-20 tribals of the village severely thrashed him. His sister Sunadei Ullaka rushed to the spot and saved his brother and brought him to her home and kept him locked inside a room in her house. However, the tribals broke open the door of the room and dragged Bala out of his house in the presence of his wife.
Bala’s sister lodged a complaint with Bisamkatak police today after coming to know that her brother was no more.
The police, who did not venture into the village in the night for fear of Maoists, went to the village on Sunday morning after a combing operation by the CRPF personnel.
Upon reaching the village, Sunadei came to know that tribals have cremated his brother at the village funeral ground.
“We cremated Bala this morning after being informed by his elder brother that he died of epilepsy last evening”, said Dhani Tuika, a fellow villager.
“My brother was alright by the time I left the village. He never suffered from epilepsy before. I have overheard the conversation of the people who, while dragging my brother out of his house, were talking about burning my brother alive by pouring kerosene on his body. Had the police reached the village last night, the life of my brother could have been saved,” Sunadei told newsmen while crying inconsolably.
Meanwhile, the police, during preliminary investigation, have come to know that Shanti Kalaka, wife of Jagabandhu, has left the village with her two sons to take shelter in her kin’s house at Budaguda village.
“We have collected the bones, ashes and other articles from the funeral ground and sent them to the State Forensic Laboratory. The exact cause of the death would be known after the test report,” said Bisamkatak IIC Satya Kumar Nanda.
He, however, said the police have not yet arrested any person in this case.