Reported by Malay Ray
Rourkela, Apr 11:
Lahunipada police in Odisha’s Sundargarh district today arrested a 28-year-old man on the charge of killing an old man on suspicion of practicing witchcraft.
As per sources in police, the accused, identified as Pandu Munda (28) of Saleipali village under Bonei police station limits, had been suspecting Kalia Munda (65) alias Phatkar Munda of the same village of practising witchcraft.
He had fought with Kalia and had blamed him for the prolonged sickness of his daughter, who had been sick for the past couple of months. He had also organized a puja for the recovery of his daughter leading to rising tension between the two.
They fought again over the same issue at about 7 am today, where Pandu, in a fit of rage, forcibly banged the head of Kalia on a nearby concrete road multiple times leading to his death.
Kalia’s wife lodged a FIR in Lahunipada police station at around 10 AM following which a police team of Lahunipada police station led by IIC RK Sahu went to the spot to investigate the matter. The cops forwarded Kalia’s body for post-mortem and arrested accused Pandu in the afternoon.
“We have arrested the accused. He will be forwarded to court on Sunday,” said RK Sahu, IIC of Lahunipada police station.
Witchcraft has been a major concern in the tribal districts of the state. Scores of people have fallen victim and have been publicly humiliated, tortured and on occasions killed on suspicion of practicing witchcraft.
A total 11 districts of the state continue to witness cases related to witchcraft and disturbingly, the trend is on a rise.
While there were 17 witchcraft related cases recorded in the state in year 2011, 12 cases came to fore in 2012, 13 cases in 2013 and 18 cases witchcraft surfaced in 2014, which was the highest number in the past four years. Earlier, 31 women were killed after being branded witch in 2010 in the state, 39 and 35 women died under similar circumstances in 2011 and 2012.
While Mayurbhanj has seen most number of such instances at 61 cases within 2005-2014, Malkangiri, Sundargarh and Rayagada follow.