In order to curb crimes related to witchcraft, the Odisha high court on Friday formulated guidelines to deal with such cases as no such law is prevalent in the state to check the menace.
Disposing of a PIL filed by Odisha Rationalist Society, a Division Bench comprising chief justice V Gopala Gowda and justice SK Mishra directed the state government to spread awareness involving all village panchayats in order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice and black magic.
Asking the state police to register cases under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and prosecute the perpetrators of such practices, the high court said police should record statements of the accused and witnesses under Section 164 of CrPC.
Further the court pointed out that all the guidelines set up by it shall be in force until a law to check the menace is enacted.
While 38 people are said to have died in Naxal attacks in 2011, the state recorded 58 deaths due to witchcraft linked violence and nearly 300 people have died of it in last five years.
In order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice, Odisha Rationalist Society had approached the High Court seeking to issue guidelines to eradicate crime in the name of superstitions, blind belief and black magic.