Berhampur: Ascribing the recent spurt in witchcraft related crimes to superstitious beliefs that are still prevalent in rural pockets; several organisations have submitted a memorandum to southern division revenue divisional commissioner in Berhampur demanding remedial measures.
The activists of Ganjam branch of Humanist and Rationalist Organisation, and Berhampur unit of Odisha and Humanist Rationalist Organisation pointed to a recent case where six elderly persons were forced to eat human faeces and their teeth were broken by fellow villagers in suspicion of witchcraft. The incident took place at Gopapur village under Chikiti panchayat of Khallikote police limits.
This apart, cases of torture for alleged practice of black magic and witchcraft continue to surface at regular intervals in this district. Victims often go through physical torture, ostracisation and heavy fines owing to this.
The activists of these two organisations demanded distribution of booklets and leaflets in villages to create awareness, public meetings and cultural programmes having message on superstition, spreading scientific beliefs, inclusion of topics on witchcraft and superstitious beliefs in textbooks and making available better health facilities in rural belts.
The activists also urged the government to provide compensation to the people who have suffered the wrath of mob owing to witchcraft related incidents. They demanded immediate measures to buck the trend.