Bhubaneswar, Oct 31 (LocalWire): Four years after the murder of a family of six in Keonjhar district that shook the state, a local court awarded life sentence to six people including a woman who perpetrated the killings in a barbaric fashion after suspecting the victims to be witchcraft practitioners.
The additional District and Sessions Judge, Champua, found them guilty and pronounced the judgment.
The horrifying incident occurred on 13 July, 2015 at Lahanda village under Champua block as the accused hacked to death a couple and their four children suspecting them of practicing sorcery and inducing children of the village to fa;ll sick.
The accused had barged into the victims’ house at midnight and axed them to death while they were fast asleep.
An eight-year-old boy was the lone survivor as he had hidden under the cot.
He was a mute witness to the mass murder as he could only hear the shriek and screams of his family.
Police later rescued the minor lying close to the bodies of his parents and siblings.
The court pronounced life imprisonment on the basis of circumstantial and material evidence of the crime.
Besides, the statement of the lone survivor provided vital evidence for conviction of the accused, said prosecution counsels.
More than a dozen witnesses were also cross-examined during the course of the trial.
All corroborated the charge-sheet filed by the police, added the prosecution counsels.
Lack of awareness coupled with a deep-rooted belief in witchcraft and absence of healthcare facilities contributed to a sharp rise in witchcraft violence in the state.
In another verdict, the additional District and Sessions Judge in Bhubaneswar sentenced ten people to life after finding them guilty of murdering Sandip Nanda near Ghatikia under Khandagiri police limits in the city on April 2012.