BERHAMPUR: Sorcery has raised its ugly head once again in Ganjam district.
A tribal of Puduringi village under Jagannathprasad block of the district was beheaded and his body set afire on the suspicion of practising sorcery. Though the incident occurred on September 24, it came to light on Monday evening when the widow of the deceased lodged a police complaint. Police visited the village on Tuesday for primary investigation.
On September 24 night, a group of villagers, armed with lethal weapons, dragged Dharma Malik of the village from his house and severely assaulted him on the road. When Dharma fell unconscious, they beheaded him in presence of his wife Kuni, three children and mother Subhaini. They then dragged the body to the outskirts of the village and set it on fire.
To suppress the incident, the group kept Dharma’s family in confinement in their house for five days. They were threatened of dire consequences, if they informed police about the incident and the accused stood guard in front of their house all the five days.
Relatives of the family, however, came to know about the incident through some fellow villagers and rescued Kuni, her children and mother in-law on Monday. Kuni then registered a police complaint with Tarasingh police. She narrated the incident to Bhanjanagar SDPO Ramesh Chandra Sethi.
Quoting Kuni’s statement, Sethi said Puduringi village, inhabited by 25 tribal families, was experiencing some unnatural incidents for the last few days. Suspecting Dharma of practising sorcery, the villagers had questioned him but the former expressed his ignorance over the matter. Agitated, the villagers decided to eliminate him.
“Though we urged them to spare him, they paid no heed. They beat him up for several hours and when he fainted, two of the villagers chopped his head. His body lay on the village road for sometime and later, the same group of villagers dragged it to outskirts of the village and burnt it,” Kuni wrote in the FIR.
When police reached the village on Tuesday for investigation, all the male members of the 25 families had fled fearing arrest. Police interrogated the women and elderly members of the families and also seized the remains of Dharma’s body for medical examination. Sethi said investigation is on and all the accused would be nabbed soon.
Sorcery and witchcraft related crimes are common in this part of the State. Several such incidents have been reported from Ganjam in the past and awareness drives have failed to curb the social evil. Social activists said many people, including tribals, here believe that witchcraft is the reason behind their problems.