33 villagers booked for killing of a woman over alleged witchcraft in Odisha

These villagers are accused of beating a woman to death on suspicion of involvement of victim’s husband in witchcraft

October 28, 2022 10:32 am | Updated 01:31 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR:

Representational image.

Representational image.

The Odisha police on Thursday, October 27, 2022, arrested 33 villagers including 20 women on allegations beating a person to death in witchcraft-related attacks in Ganjam district.

The incident took place in Madhurjhol village under Kabirsuryanagar police station limit. During past few months, about 10 villagers of Madhurjhol had passed away for different illness. Villagers were suspecting witchcraft as reason behind deaths.

The villagers suspected the involvement of Judhisthir Nahak and three others in the witchcraft. Subsequently, the four villagers were summoned to the village meeting to present their side. However, the they were brutally beaten up in the meeting.

During Wednesday evening, Mr. Nahak lodged complaint with Kabisuryanagar that their families were subjected to murderous attack.

Angered over the police complaint lodged against them, Madhurjhol villagers ganged up and broke into house of Mr. Nahak and launched attack. On being informed, two platoons of police led by one Sub-Divisional Police Officer and three inspector-in-charged reached the village.

“It was very difficult to convince villagers to refrain from attacking the family. The parleys continued throughout the night. At around 3 am in the morning, police managed to rescue Judhisthir Nahak and two of his sons. However, Jhunu Nahak, wife of Mr. Nahak, was left alone in the house. Taking advantage of the situation, villagers attacked and killed her,” said Saravana Vivek M, Berhampur Superintendent of Police who was in charge of Ganjam district.

According to sources, villagers kept the police busy in discussions while at the same time, another group perpetrated the heinous crime.

“We have eye-witnesses of the attack. Women actively participated in murder of the victim. No one will be spared,” said the SP. All 33 persons including women have been booked under Section 302 of IPC. Three platoons of police have been deployed in the village to keep the situation under control.

Since 2014, around 400 persons have been killed on suspicion of performing witchcraft in Odisha.

Despite the State government coming up with Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Act 2013 and Composite Action Plan to Prevent Witch-hunting 2017, the inhumane trials of witch-hunting like the ones practiced in medieval era are continuing in different parts of the State.

Majority people of a village gang up against a section of people mostly belonging to Dalits and widows. Victims of witch-hunting cases are paraded naked and forced to consume human excreta. Some of them were even thrown out from villages.

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