Man beaten to death in Odisha over suspicions of practising witchcraft
A 50-year old man was beaten to death in a village in Sambalpur district for allegedly practising witchcraft, police said on Wednesday. The incident at the mans residence at Dimirikuda village under Kisinda police station took place on Monday. The accused in the case, a 32-year-old neighbour, was detained by the police on Tuesday night, the Rairakhol sub-divisional police officer P K Meher said.
Shukru Majhi was suspected of practising black magic by his neighbour, who lost his four-year-old son about four years ago. This led to frequent scuffles between them, Meher said.
According to the police complaint filed by Majhis wife, four to five persons armed with sticks and an axe barged into their house on Monday night and mercilessly assaulted him. Majhis wife Ratani was working in the backyard of the house and fled in fear and the attackers could not find her. She came back after some time and him lying unconscious, the complaint said.
Subsequently the villagers gathered at the spot and Majhi was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared him dead. The police later reached the spot and sent the body for autopsy. The inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Kisinda police station, Anjali Kumbhar said, “We have detained the accused. A case has been registered and further investigation into the matter is underway”.
Police said sticks and an axe have been seized from the spot. According to a study in 2021, Odisha witnessed the second highest number of deaths due to witch-hunting in the country. The practice is prevalent in 12 of the 30 districts of the state, specially Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundagrah, Malkangiri, Gajapati and Ganjam, a new report claimed.
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