Six members of a family killed on allegations of practicing witchcraft in Odisha: NHRC notices to DM and SP, Keonjhar (24.7.2015)


New Delhi, Dated: 24th July, 2015

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice, returnable in two weeks, to the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Keonjhar, Odisha after taking suo motu cognizance of a media report that on allegations of practicing witchcraft, six members of a family were hacked to death while two others were seriously injured at Mundashahi village in the district on the 12th July, 2015. The dead included the head of the family, Gura Munda, his wife, two daughters and two sons.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim and his family.

According to the media report, carried on the 15th July, 2015, the villagers believed that the wife of slain Gura Munda was practicing witchcraft and casting spells on the neighbours' children. They were also angry with Gura Munda that he took his children to a local hospital for treatment without consulting a Rawadia (witch doctor).

Reportedly, the killers included the elder brother of Gura Munda and his neighbour among others. Though, just four kilometer away from the town of Joda, villagers in Mundashahi do not have much faith in the modern medicine. They have to do a 'puja' with the witch doctor before taking their ailing children to the nearest hospital.