Bhubaneswar, Sept 15 (LocalWire): Police today arrested seven people in connection with the brutal murder of a woman and her five-year-old daughter on suspicion of practicing black magic.
28-year-old Gangi Kerketa and her minor daughter Sibani were hacked to death at Gaidega Ravan Jhula village under Chandiposh police station limits on 9 September. Later, the assailants dumped their bodies in the Brahmani river. While the woman’s body was retrieved today, her daughter’s body is yet to be fished out.
Sunil Ekka, Anil Ekka, Etua Ekka, Bhadra Kerketa, Champa Kerketa, Mange Toppo and Kustam Toppo were booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act, 2013 and remanded to judicial custody, said Sub Divisional Police Officer, Abakash Routray.
The murder owes its background to children falling sick in the village for the past month. Locals believed that Gangi was a witch and blamed her for casting an evil eye on their children.
Later, they executed the coldblooded murder after dragging Gangi and her daughter from their house, police said, adding that the weapons used for the murders were seized.
‘This was a clear case of witchcraft-related murder. Locals were under the belief that the woman practiced sorcery,’ said SDPO Routray.
Witchcraft-related violence is steadily on the rise in Sundargarh district. It’s an exceedingly disturbing trend as it is claiming lives and breaking families.
Police are launching anti-witchcraft campaigns from time to time yet there is no letup in witchcraft violence. These sort of disconcerting incidents are occurring due to poverty, family disputes, blind beliefs and lack of education, he said. The anti-sorcery campaign will be renewed to curb such incidents, he added.
The ‘tantriks’ or the witch-doctors in these areas are the main troublemakers who motivate and convince the gullible tribals to brand a woman or man as a witch.