Keonjhar, August 20 (LocalWire): The fear of witchcraft and superstition raised its ugly head once again in the state claiming two lives, including septuagenarian woman, in Keonjhar district on Monday.
According to available information, villagers of Nekerapalli under Ambebari police station jurisdiction suspected that 75-year old Subhash Munda and her 40-year-old nephew Chaitanya Munda practiced witchcraft and the duo cast evil spirit on the villagers.
“While the elderly woman was throttled, her nephew was beaten to death by a mob comprising about a dozen of persons,” the sub-divisional police officer Dilip Bagh said.
Bagh further informed that witchcraft-related violence has already claimed four lives this year in the district, including the latest incident, reported yesterday night.
The police have arrested three of the assailants, Rama Munda, Bijoy Munda, and Talishi Munda and search are on to nab others involved in the crime.
The three arrested accused have been booked under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and section-11 of the Prevention of Witch Hunting Act of 2014.
They will be remanded to judicial custody after the police inquiry, the officer stated.
“There is no letup witch-hunting and witchcraft violence in Odisha despite the claim by the government of enacting penal measures and launching awareness campaigns to sensitise the superstition-driven people,” rationalist Debendra Sutar said.
Overall, 27people have been killed in witchcraft-related violence in the state this year, while over 100 cases of violence have been reported.
Amongst the districts, Rayagada and Sundargarh top the list with five murders each in witchcraft-related cases of violence; Keonjhar has reported four deaths; and Mayurbhanj, Ganjam and Malkangiri three deaths each.
Balasore has reported two deaths this year while Nuapada and Gajapati have reported one death each, in similar incidents.