World’s first witch-hunt victims’ memorial unveiled in Odisha

Keonjhar: Odisha DGP Dr RP Sharma unveiled a memorial for witch-hunt victims here on Wednesday. The witch-hunt victims’ memorial is said to be first of its kind in the world dedicated in this modern era for the witch-hunt victims. There is a symbolic statue in its centre surrounded by names of all the known victims (etched on the granite stones).

Sharma unveiled the memorial in the presence of Raurkela DIG, Keonjhar Collector and Keonjhar SP. He also flagged-off an awareness vehicle which will cover all pockets of the district where this inhumane practice (witch-hunt/ blind belief) still prevails.

The awareness vehicle has an audio system for announcements and publicity materials like pamphlets in the local language, copies of “The Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Act 2013” etc. which will be distributed to the locals.

The DGP also attended an awareness program against the witch-hunting which was also attended by more than 300 victims/ their family members and SHG workers.

Later, DGP, DIG, Collector, SP and other senior police officers had common lunch (Bhoji) together with all the ladies (inhumanely and illegally labelled as so-called witch/Dahini) and their family members with the aim to share the dining table and discuss freely how to kill the menace of witch-hunting.

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It is worthwhile to mention that inhumane practice of witch-hunting still prevails in some states of India like Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam etc. mainly in the tribal areas even in the 21st century.

In India, 134 people (majority female but some male too) were killed being labelled as a witch. In Odisha, last year (2018) total of 18 people were killed. More than 50 persons have been killed in the last 10 years in Keonjhar.

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