Tribal family in Odisha accused of witchcraft by relatives, made to put hands in boiling water
Three members of a tribal family in Odisha’s Nabarangpur district were made to put their hands into a pot of boiling water mixed with cow dung by their relatives, who accused them of practising sorcery, police said on Tuesday.
Banamali Jani, his wife Drupt Jani and their 17-year-old daughter Subh Jani of Nuaguda village under Baghasiuni gram panchayat were attacked by the man’s nephew Pada Jani and four others on Monday.
“Banamali’s dog had allegedly killed a goat of Pada Jani following which he picked a fight with his uncle. On Monday morning, Pada Jani and his family came to Banamali’s house armed and accused his uncle of practising sorcery,” said Nabarangpur police station’s inspector-in-charge Tariq Ahmed.
“Banamali strongly objected to the allegation, but an angry Pada and his family forcibly put their hands in the boiling water,” Ahmed said.
The accused also tried to vandalise Banamali’s house.
Banamali’s son Bidyadhar, who was not in the village when his parents and sister were attacked, rushed to Nabarangpur district headquarter hospital after he returned in the afternoon. Doctors said the condition of Banamali and his family was stable.
Police said they are investigating the case and the accused will be arrested.
Violence over suspicion of witchcraft is on the rise in the state despite the promulgation of the Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Act, 2013.
A 70-year-old man was hacked to death in June in Ganjam district over suspicions of practising witchcraft. In 2017, 99 cases of “witch-hunting” were reported in the state, compared to 83 in 2016, and 58 in 2015.
Police in the tribal-dominated district of Keonjhar built a memorial against witch-hunt in the district headquarter town early this year to create awareness against the practice.
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