Keonjhar:27/2/19: DGP Dr R.P. Sharma on Wednesday inaugurated a memorial dedicated to witch-hunt victims here in the presence of DIG Rourkela, DM and Keonjhar Collector and Keonjhar SP.
He also flagged off an awareness Rath (vehicle), which will cover all pockets of the Keonjhar district where this inhumane practice (witch-hunt/ blind belief in Dahini, Guni etc) still prevails.
The witch-hunt victims’ memorial is the first of its kind in the world for modern era witch-hunt victims. There is a symbolic statue in the centre surrounded by names of all the known victims (etched on the granite stones).
The awareness ‘Rath’ has an audio system for announcements and publicity material like pamphlets in the local language, copies of “The Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act 2013” etc, which will be distributed in the interior affected areas of the district.
Sharma also attended an awareness programme against witch-hunting. More than 300 victims, their family members and SHG workers were also present.
The inhumane practice of witch-hunting still prevails in some states of India like Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam etc, mainly in the tribal areas.
In India 134 people (majority female but some males too) were killed being labeled as witch. In Odisha last year (2018), a total of 18 people were killed. In Keonjhar more than 50 persons have been killed in the last 10 years.