Odisha Police launches a memorial for witchcraft victims

On Wednesday Odisha police inaugurated a one-of-its-kind memorial, which commemorated witch-hunt victims. The memorial, unveiled by Odisha Director General of Police RP Sharma, was an innovative solution opted by Odisha police force to sensitise the people about the heinous practice. The memorial was opened in the district headquarter town of Keonjhar.

As per the records, Keonjhar is one of the worst-hit places affected by the witch-hunt menace with more than 50 reports of people being killed on the account of sorcery across the district.

The opening of the memorial came a day after a couple and their neighbour were killed for allegedly performing witchcraft activities in Rayagada district.

The memorial is said to have a symbolic statue built in the memory of all the innocent people who got killed after being labelled as witches. The names of the victims have been engraved on a granite stone.

“The inhuman practice of witch-hunting prevails in several States, including Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Assam, mainly in the tribal areas. The social evil has long vanished from most parts of the world, barring India and some African countries,” said Keonjhar Superintendent of Police Jai Narayan Pankaj.

“In India, 134 people, majority of them being women, were killed after being branded a witch. In Odisha last year, 18 people were killed. In Keonjhar, more than 50 people have been killed in the last 10 years,” said Mr Pankaj.

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