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Seven arrested in ‘witch-hunt’ case in Odisha

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After the completion of preliminary investigation, Abakas Routray, sub-divisional police officer, Bonai, said the villagers beat them brutally despite the two pleading for mercy and hacked them to death.

Police arrested seven persons in Sundargarh district in Odisha on Sunday in connection with a ‘witch-hunt’ murder of a mother-daughter duo.

Suspecting one Gangi Kerketta, 28, and her 5-year-old daughter Sibani of practising sorcery in Ravan Jhula village under Chandiposh police station limit, some fellow villagers brutally killed the two on September 9 and threw them into the Brahmani River to erase evidence.

After the completion of preliminary investigation, Abakas Routray, sub-divisional police officer, Bonai, said the villagers dragged both the woman and the kid and tied them to a pole. They beat them brutally despite the two pleading for mercy, and hacked them to death.

While Gangi’s body was recovered four days after the murder, Sibani’s body is yet to be traced.

“Gangi had been branded as a witch. A migrant labourer from the village died due to illness one month after his return from Kerala. Villagers suspected Gangi’s role in the death. On September 9, villagers conducted a Sarna Puja (a tribal worship) and also convened a village meeting,” said Mr. Routray.

At the village meeting, they decided to eliminate the mother and daughter as well as Birsa Kerketta, Gangi’s husband. Around 8.30 pm, Birsa Kerketta, who was outside at the time, saw the neigbours entering his house. Instead of rescuing his family, he fled to the forest.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 7:10:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/seven-arrested-in-witch-hunt-case-in-odisha/article29425220.ece

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