HC issues guidelines to curb witchcraft practice

Cuttack: High Court on Thursday directed the state government to spread awareness involving all gram panchayats in order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice and black magic.

Disposing off a PIL filed by Odisha Rationalist Society, a Division Bench of the High court comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra formulated a guideline to check nuisances created by witchcraft as no such law is prevalent in the state to curb this practice.

Asking the state police to register cases under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and prosecute the perpetrators of such practices, the High Court said police should record statements of the accused and witnesses under Section 164 of CrPC.

Further the High Court pointed out that all the guidelines set up by it shall be in force until a law to check the menace is enacted.

While 38 people are said to have died in Naxal attacks in 2011, the state recorded 58 deaths due to witchcraft linked violence and nearly 300 people have died of it in last five years.

In order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice, Odisha Rationalist Society had approached the High Court seeking to issue guidelines to eradicate crime in the name of superstitions, blind belief and black magic.