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Devbrat Patnaik

Balasore: The pain that goes parallel with superstition and inhumanity has again reared its ugly head in the State, this time from a village in Balasore, where three members of a family were meted out physical torture and forced to leave their home allegedly on the charges of practising sorcery.

This shocking incident reported from Uttara Mahisamunda village in Sriram panchayat under Baliapal block of the district is a glaring example of how superstition has overpowered people in rural areas.

As per reports, one Lusku Tudu, his wife and sister-in-law were branded as witches after two persons - reportedly sons of his elder brother - suddenly died under mysterious circumstances. Not only were the three beaten up by the villagers but they were also asked to leave the village and not even allowed to carry their belongings with them. The Sarpanch too allegedly did not raise his voice against such inhumane torture.

Not knowing where to take shelter, the three along with their little boy finally stay put under a culvert near Majipada village but days and nights have been sleepless since then. Half of the days, they are empty stomach.

"After my elder brother's sons died, we were branded as witches by the villagers and frequently harassed. We were forced out of the village. We are taking shelter here under the open skies," said Tudu.

"We three were blamed for their deaths. We have no idea about what has happened. We want justice, we want to get back to our home," says Rukmini, another victim.

On the other hand, Baliapal Additional Tehsildar Subrat Patra informed that the concerned IIC has been asked to initiate a probe in connection with the alleged harassment. Necessary action will be taken based on the IIC's report, Patra said.

The worrying concern is can change of mind ever guarantee the end of blind faith on superstition, if yes, when!

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