Nayagarh: Suggesting how superstitious beliefs are still deep-rooted in our society, residents of Chadheyapalli village under Banigochha police limits of Daspalla block in Nayagarh district have been haunted by fear of witchcraft for last couple of days.
This has also been a headache for police as the villagers recently punished four persons suspecting their involvement in black magic in a kangaroo court.
The villagers allege that under the influence of some sort of black magic, every full moon day one of them either dies or loses mental balance.
“In the last six months, three villagers have lost their lives to this black magic,” they panicked.
Narrating her experience, a villager Subasini Pradhan said, “Those who set aside these activities, terming them baseless, have never actually experienced them. They would start believing only when they get affected by them. Under the influence of such black magic, a woman of our village has lost her mental balance and is now roaming like a lunatic. Even if I have no disease, I fall ill on every full moon day. No medicine is working on me. What would you say to this?” she asked.
Shockingly, so far, four persons have been punished at the village kangaroo court under suspicion of witchcraft and being responsible for the deaths and other unnatural activities. They were tied to a pole and beaten up for the whole day.
Later, they were forced to eat human faeces. The victimised persons have been identified as Santosh Nayak, Bidya Nayak, Bharat Nayak and Bighnaraj Sethi.
The threat to their lives has increased after they lodged complaints at Banigochha police station. They are now living in the nearby forest, fearing attack by the villagers.
When asked, Santosh said they were subjected to unspeakable torture despite their innocence. “We can never forget the way we were treated in the kangaroo court. It will only go with our death. We don’t know who are behind this. But we want justice,” he said.
It is learnt that the village deity possesses a woman of the village on every full moon day, new moon day and ‘sankranti’. She answers people’s questions. Abiding by her words, the villagers punished Santosh, Bidya, Bharat and Bighnaraj.
Notably, kangaroo courts have become the order of the day in Nayagarh district with such meetings being increasingly held in villages. The penalised persons are being ostracised lives or leave the villages.
The complaints with the police hardly give them justice. Banigochha police station IIC Baidya Narayan Bhoi said, “After complaints about kangaroo court and black magic related incidents, we have registered cases and investigating them. Our efforts are on to bring normalcy back to the village.”