BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday issued notices to the Collector and the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Keonjhar over the brutal murder of six members of a tribal family on suspicion of witchcraft earlier this month.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the incident from media reports, the human rights watchdog has asked the district administration to file replies within two weeks.
The Commission observed that the matter, if true, raises a serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim and his family.
On July 12, Gura Munda, his wife, two daughters and sons were found murdered in their Mundasahi village home under Keonjhar’s Joda police limits. Two other sons of Gura were seriously injured in the incident and receiving treatment.
The Odisha Police, which had tagged the case as ‘Red Flag,’ arrested nine persons, including two brothers of Gura, in connection with the murders.
Investigation by the district police has revealed that neighbours and brothers of Gura were suspicious that his wife Budhini was practicing witchcraft and casting spells on others. While the Munda family was financially better off, their children attended school and went to hospital, the children of the brothers struggled with bad health and poverty. This strengthened their belief that the Munda family was casting spell on them.
The NHRC also took into account allegations such as lack of faith of the residents of Mundasahi in modern medicine though the village was about 4 km from Joda town.
Similarly, they consulted witch doctors whenever their children fell ill instead of going to a health facility.