34 nabbed for attacking family on suspicion of practising witchcraft in Berhampur

Berhampur
31 Jul 2017

Thirty-four people, including five women, were arrested from a village in Odisha's Ganjam district for allegedly attacking a family a month ago, accusing them of practising 'witchcraft'.
The incident happened at Gobaralundi village on July 2 and the police arrested all the accused on Sunday. The villagers not only attacked the family but also allegedly forced them to swallow human excreta, police said today. The family members were later admitted to Sorada hospital after suffering from diarrhoea due to consumption of human excreta, police said. "We had detained 50 people from the village and 34 out of them were arrested. The arrested persons belong to eight families," said inspector in-charge of Badagada police station, Jibananand Jena.
More people involved in the incident are likely to be arrested, Jena said. Earlier, the police had registered a case against 55 people in this connection. After the attack, all seven members of the family had taken shelter in Badagada, 15 km away from their village. One of the victims, Babula Nayak, was allegedly assaulted by the villagers on Saturday last when he had returned to the village. Their house was looted during their absence, he told the police. "We have registered a fresh complaint in this connection. We will seek permission from the court to take them on remand in connection with the loot," Jena said.
Sajani Nayak, another victim had lodged an FIR three days after the July 2 incident. Suspecting a 70-year-old man and his family of practising witchcraft after a girl became ill. The villagers had imposed a fine of Rs 4 lakh on him and Rs 2 lakh each on other members of the family. They were forced to consume human excreta when they expressed inability to pay the fine, the police officer said. Since witchcraft-related incidents take place frequently in the area, police said they have taken the matter seriously and all the persons involved in the case would be arrested soon.