Sharmili Mallick

Berhampur: At least five persons were arrested on Saturday for allegedly killing an elderly man on suspicion of practicing sorcery at Dhimiripankal village under Badagada police limits in Ganjam district on March 30.

The body of the deceased, Dharma Naik (75) was recovered by the police from bushes near the village canal the next day following which an investigation was launched in connection with the incident.

The arrested persons have been identified as Budhiram Naik, Bulu Naik, Rohit Naik, Dhoba Naik of Dhimiripankal village and another Das Naik of Lembhapumpa village.

Murder weapon- a stone, hammer, mobile phone and two motorcycles have been seized from their possession, informed Aska Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Suryamani Pradhan.

The accused had attacked Dharma when he was on his to a nearby village on March 30.

“The deceased used to throw ash and some powder in front of the houses of villagers which raised doubts that he was practicing some witchcraft. In a fit of rage, some youths of the village killed him with stone and hammer and fled the spot after dumping his body in the bushes near the canal,”said Pradhan.

“He killed my three-year-old boy around 10 months ago and recently murdered my 10-year-old girl. When I questioned him, Dharma threatened me of dire consequences. He used to thrown ashes and rice near my house every Tuesday and Saturday. He was practicing black magic,” alleged an accused Rohit Naik.

Meanwhile, all the accused have confessed to the crime and were produced before the court yesterday by the Badagada police.

(Edited By Vikash Sharma)