Odisha cops exhume body parts of youth killed over suspicion of witchcraft

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An 18-year-old young man was allegedly killed by a group of people in Odisha’s Malkangiri district over suspicion that he practised black magic that led to the death of 17 tribals over the last 3 months, police said Sunday.

The alleged killers also chopped his body into pieces and buried them in a pit.

Police officials in Malkangiri district exhumed the pieces of Samaru Madkami’s body, three days after he was murdered by villagers, said the inspector of Malkangiri police station Ramprasad Nag.

Nag led a police team to Kenduguda village on Sunday and arrested four people who had allegedly killed Samaru.

Many of the 17 men who died in the last three months, had complained of swollen legs and swollen stomach. Most of them reportedly did not have the strength even to walk or stand properly and suffered acute respiratory problems. A medical team has been camping at the village for over a week to find out the reason behind the deaths.

Police said four tribals - Deba Madkami, Budra Muchaki, Aaita Kabasi and Ram Madi - had called Samaru and two other boys from their houses on the night of June 4 on the pretext of a meeting. They took the three to the outskirts of the village and tried to kill the three. While two boys managed to escape, Samaru was battered to death by the four who accused him of practising witchcraft.

After killing Samaru, they chopped his body into pieces and later buried the body parts before fleeing from the spot.

The village is situated in a remote area and is difficult to access. Though a primary health centre is located 5 km away, local villagers did not go there for treatment of their ailments.

Killing over witchcraft is not new in Odisha. In February this year, a tribal in Malkangiri district was killed by his neighbour over suspicion that he practised black magic.

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