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Odisha villagers burn couple after accusing them of practicing ‘black magic’

In another incident in the state, a woman was forcibly fed pig excreta by a sorcerer who tried to exorcise her

Sabrangindia 21 Jul 2020

Image Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

In two shocking incidents from Odisha, an elderly couple was allegedly burnt to death on suspicion of them performing black magic and a woman was forcibly fed pig excreta to ‘exorcise’ evil spirits from her body, The Telegraph Online reported.

In the first incident, it was said that villagers of Nimapalli Surasahi, a tribal hamlet under Pingal panchayat of Jajpur district, surrounded the house of Saral Balimuchha (60) and Sambari (50) on Sunday night and set it on fire while the couple were asleep. The villagers decided to burn the couple to death suspecting them of having used ‘black magic’ to cause five to seven children in the village to take ill with fever.

Jaipur district SP CS Meena told The Telegraph Online that investigation in the matter was underway, but the officials suspected sorcery to be one of the reasons for the killing.

In the second incident which took place in Malkangiri’s MV-6 village on Sunday, The Telegraph Online reported that after Lipika Orao, wife of tribal farmer Santosh Orao fell sick she was taken to local quacks but her condition didn’t improve. She was then allegedly taken to a sorcerer who branded her with a hot iron and later forced her to eat pig excreta, claiming that he was exorcising evil spirits from her body.

However, local ASHA worker Laxmi Munda came to know about the incident and rushed Lipika to the hospital where she was treated. The police have now taken suo motu cognisance of the case and arrested the alleged sorcerer.

In a recent incident, a 42-year-old woman, Kanaben Bariya and her two minor daughters aged 12 and 17 were allegedly assaulted by their distant relatives on accusations of being a witch.

In a similar incident, in May, three women were in Muzaffarpur were stripped, tonsured and forced to consume urine and human feces by a mob which suspected them of practicing black magic, The Print reported. The women who were hospitalized said that they were performing puja (rituals) for the ailing son of one of the women. Nine people had been arrested in the matter.

In another horrifying incident, in Odisha, Budhuram Singh decapitated his 60-year-aunt, Champa Singh, suspecting her to be a witch and holding her responsible for the death of his daughter. The man walked 13 kilometers with his aunt’s severed head to the local police station to surrender himself, reported Indiatimes. He was booked for murder by the police.

It was reported by The Telegraph Online that at least 70 lives are lost every year in witch-hunting related incidents in Odisha even though the state has promoted the Odisha Prevention of Witch-Hunting Act in 2013 to check and reduce such crimes. The National Crime Records Bureau in 2016 had reported 134 people across the country for the alleged use of ‘black magic’. Ipleaders.in reported in Odisha itself 99 cases of witch hunting were reported in 2017, 83 in 2016 and 58 in 2015. Prevalent in Assam too, at least 114 women and 79 men were branded as witches and killed and 202 such cases had been registered between 2001 and 2017. In Jharkhand too where there are many cases of witch hunting reported, as many as 27 deaths took place in 2016, though the real number could still be higher.

Superstitious beliefs, lack of resources, financial and property disputes, poverty and patriarchy among others have led to witch hunting still thriving in India. The killings are perpetrated by kangaroo courts and family members and women have been the biggest victim of this injustice. Even today, witch hunting still remains a harsh reality in India’s villages. Feminism in India reported that witch-hunting is practised across 12 states in India, only 7 states have laws criminalising the practice – Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Assam. A large number of perpetrators are still let out on bail and there is no system in place to re-arrest them.

If one goes over newspaper reports starting January 1, 2020, at least 50 incidents of witch hunting across India can be found to have taken place. Even though these are brought to the notice of the state governments, it is alarming that not much has been done to stop these heinous and inhuman acts of injustice.

Related:

Woman, daughters attacked with sticks and axes on suspicion of practicing witchcraft
Sexism in the time of Corona: How the “Corona Dayan” took over social media
Why are women accused of witchcraft? Study in rural China gives clue

Odisha villagers burn couple after accusing them of practicing ‘black magic’

In another incident in the state, a woman was forcibly fed pig excreta by a sorcerer who tried to exorcise her

Image Courtesy:telegraphindia.com

In two shocking incidents from Odisha, an elderly couple was allegedly burnt to death on suspicion of them performing black magic and a woman was forcibly fed pig excreta to ‘exorcise’ evil spirits from her body, The Telegraph Online reported.

In the first incident, it was said that villagers of Nimapalli Surasahi, a tribal hamlet under Pingal panchayat of Jajpur district, surrounded the house of Saral Balimuchha (60) and Sambari (50) on Sunday night and set it on fire while the couple were asleep. The villagers decided to burn the couple to death suspecting them of having used ‘black magic’ to cause five to seven children in the village to take ill with fever.

Jaipur district SP CS Meena told The Telegraph Online that investigation in the matter was underway, but the officials suspected sorcery to be one of the reasons for the killing.

In the second incident which took place in Malkangiri’s MV-6 village on Sunday, The Telegraph Online reported that after Lipika Orao, wife of tribal farmer Santosh Orao fell sick she was taken to local quacks but her condition didn’t improve. She was then allegedly taken to a sorcerer who branded her with a hot iron and later forced her to eat pig excreta, claiming that he was exorcising evil spirits from her body.

However, local ASHA worker Laxmi Munda came to know about the incident and rushed Lipika to the hospital where she was treated. The police have now taken suo motu cognisance of the case and arrested the alleged sorcerer.

In a recent incident, a 42-year-old woman, Kanaben Bariya and her two minor daughters aged 12 and 17 were allegedly assaulted by their distant relatives on accusations of being a witch.

In a similar incident, in May, three women were in Muzaffarpur were stripped, tonsured and forced to consume urine and human feces by a mob which suspected them of practicing black magic, The Print reported. The women who were hospitalized said that they were performing puja (rituals) for the ailing son of one of the women. Nine people had been arrested in the matter.

In another horrifying incident, in Odisha, Budhuram Singh decapitated his 60-year-aunt, Champa Singh, suspecting her to be a witch and holding her responsible for the death of his daughter. The man walked 13 kilometers with his aunt’s severed head to the local police station to surrender himself, reported Indiatimes. He was booked for murder by the police.

It was reported by The Telegraph Online that at least 70 lives are lost every year in witch-hunting related incidents in Odisha even though the state has promoted the Odisha Prevention of Witch-Hunting Act in 2013 to check and reduce such crimes. The National Crime Records Bureau in 2016 had reported 134 people across the country for the alleged use of ‘black magic’. Ipleaders.in reported in Odisha itself 99 cases of witch hunting were reported in 2017, 83 in 2016 and 58 in 2015. Prevalent in Assam too, at least 114 women and 79 men were branded as witches and killed and 202 such cases had been registered between 2001 and 2017. In Jharkhand too where there are many cases of witch hunting reported, as many as 27 deaths took place in 2016, though the real number could still be higher.

Superstitious beliefs, lack of resources, financial and property disputes, poverty and patriarchy among others have led to witch hunting still thriving in India. The killings are perpetrated by kangaroo courts and family members and women have been the biggest victim of this injustice. Even today, witch hunting still remains a harsh reality in India’s villages. Feminism in India reported that witch-hunting is practised across 12 states in India, only 7 states have laws criminalising the practice – Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Assam. A large number of perpetrators are still let out on bail and there is no system in place to re-arrest them.

If one goes over newspaper reports starting January 1, 2020, at least 50 incidents of witch hunting across India can be found to have taken place. Even though these are brought to the notice of the state governments, it is alarming that not much has been done to stop these heinous and inhuman acts of injustice.

Related:

Woman, daughters attacked with sticks and axes on suspicion of practicing witchcraft
Sexism in the time of Corona: How the “Corona Dayan” took over social media
Why are women accused of witchcraft? Study in rural China gives clue

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