Odisha man beheaded by nephew over witchcraft suspicion

Published on Nov 12, 2022 06:35 PM IST

The victim was alone at the house when the crime was committed. He was found in a pool of blood with the head severed

Police said the accused also had a running feud with the victim over land related issues (Representative Image)
Police said the accused also had a running feud with the victim over land related issues (Representative Image)
ByDebabrata Mohanty

A 60-year-old man in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district was allegedly beheaded by his nephew over suspicions that he practised witchcraft, police said.

Police said the family members of Tunguru Singh of Sarjandi village under Bholagadia grampanchayat in Mayurbhanj district found his body with head severed on Friday evening. “Singh was alone at the house and his wife and daughter-in-law had gone to a nearby stadium to watch a football match. When they returned they were horrified to find him in a pool of blood with the head severed,” said Sarthak Ray, sub divisional police officer of Udala.

Police said Singh’s nephew Bapun was arrested after preliminary inquiry and he reportedly confessed to have murdered him with a billhook. “For long Bapun suspected his uncle to be practising witchcraft. He also had a running feud with him over land related issues. Yesterday both of them started quarrelling after which Bapun murdered Singh,” the police official said.

Instances of murders and assaults over suspicions of practising witchcraft are often reported in Odisha, despite the state government enacting a special law to prosecute the accused. More than 60 first information reports (FIRs) have been registered under the Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act 2013 this year. Maximum offences were reported in Mayurbhanj district.

Last month, police in Ganjam district arrested 33 people including 20 women for allegedly beating a 55-year-old woman to death as she approached police over an attack on her husband over suspicion that he practised witchcraft.

In September, seven people were arrested in Mayurbhanj district for allegedly killing a 33-year-old tribal man over similar suspicion.

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