02 October 2019
Berhampur: A group of six senior citizens were beaten up, teeth broken and faeces force-fed--- all in the name of superstition. This horrific incident occurred at Gopapur village under Khalikote police limits in Ganjam district and after seven days of intensive investigation, a total of 20 were arrested on Tuesday.
The scourged elderly have been rescued. They have been identified as Jogi Nahak, Sania Nahak, Rama Nahak, Jogi Das, Hari Nahak, and Duruja Nahak. All of them hail from Dalit Sahi of Gopapur village.
A team led by Ganjam SP Brijesh Kumar Rai and Khallikote IIC Satyaranjan Pradhan, Purushottampur SDPO Laxmidhar Sethi, Chhatrapur SDPO Utkala Keshari Das and IICs from Kodala, Rambha, Polasara were part of this huge operation.
Ganjam Police had been receiving regular tip-offs that there have been multiple cases of atrocities based on blind beliefs. The Police and administration attempted several awareness drives against witchcraft and black magic, but in vain.
Seven days ago Police received information of six elderly people being thrashed, teeth broken in and faeces force-fed for the crime of committing witchcraft. The team tried entering the village but were stopped into entering by a huge group of women. The locals accused the Police of interfering in village matters.
Finally on Tuesday, in presence of Magistrate Chittaranjan Mahant, a platoon of police force was deployed and the team made a forceful entry into the village. The six survivors were rescued and taken to Khallikote Community Health Centre. But they were transferred to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack as their condition was deemed serious.
Twelve women and eight men have been taken into custody in this matter and are being interrogated. Fearing judiciary action, most of the Gopapur villagers have fled. An investigation is underway.