Another murder related to superstitious belief in sorcery has occurred in K.Nuagaon police station limits in Ganjam district.

A father and son duo involved in the murder was arrested and produced in the court on Friday, said inspector in-charge of K.Nuagaon police station Ramesh Chandra Das. The murder had occurred at Badagaon village on Thursday afternoon. The deceased was Dandapani Behera (40). He was beaten to death by the two accused at the village square.

According to police sources, the two accused Sridhar Behera and his son Dasarathi Behera used to allege that Dandapani was a sorcerer bringing ill- luck to their family through sorcery. Families of the deceased and the accused were also related. Dandapani’s brother-in-law had married Sridhar’s daughter. Due to some reason both families also had a dispute.

Since past one year, Dasarathi had been facing various ailments. Sridhar and Dasarathi had started to believe that these ailments were caused by some kind of sorcery spell. They started blaming Dandapani for it. On Thursday afternoon, while Dandapani was on his way to his field, the father and son duo attacked him with a lathi. The deceased was seriously injured by a lethal blow to his head and fell to the ground. But the assailants did not stop. They continued to beat him scolding that he was practising sorcery against them. Dandapani succumbed to the injuries on the spot.

Dandapani’s elder brother and relatives informed police about the incident. On Thursday evening, police managed to track down the two accused. The lathi used in this murder was also seized.

Several incidents of torture of innocents due superstitious belief in sorcery had occurred in the district in the past. On March 31, 2012 police had to open fire on an irate mob of villagers at Phasiguda in Ganjam district while attempting to rescue four victims who were being tortured after being branded as sorcerers. Two persons had died in this police firing. In Ganjam district, innocents are usually branded as sorcerers through another superstitious ‘hoax’ named Khatavidya.

It may be noted that last year rationalists of Odisha had declared a reward of Rs. one lakh for anyone proving that ‘sorcery’ and Khatavidya works.They had also demanded that the State government come up with a strict law to curb inhuman torture of innocents and murders due to belief in sorcery.