first_imgThe National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha government to pay compensation of ₹6 lakh to victims of witchcraft who were forced to consume human excreta.Eight villagers, including two girls of Olapur village in Ganjam district, were allegedly tortured and forced to eat human excreta in full public view by fellow villagers who had accused them of practising witchcraft on January 19, 2015.No securityHuman rights lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy had moved the NHRC pointing out that the State had failed to provide security to victims and prevent violence associated with the blind belief.Mr. Tripathy had informed the panel that following the incident, four of the victims had fled to Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, while the whereabouts of the two victims, Jhunu and Susama, were not known.He had sought a thorough investigation into the case, action against the culprits and compensation for the victims, besides a report on steps taken by the State government to prevent sorcery and violence associated with it.The Commission had got the incident investigated by the Superintendent of Police, Ganjam, which admitted that victims were tortured.Mental harmDespite existence of the Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act, 2013, many women were branded as witch and thereafter they as well as their family members had been subjected to various kind of atrocities and tortures, including physical (rape, killings and disfiguring their body parts), mental and economic harm, observed the NHRC.Show-cause notices It was of the view that the State had failed to discharge its constitutional duties, resulting in violation of human rights of the victims. The NHRC had issued show-cause notices to the State Home Department as well as the Ganjam district administration.When the panel did not receive a satisfactory reply, it directed the State Chief Secretary to pay compensation of ₹75,000 to each victim and submit a compliance report along with proof of payment within six weeks.last_img

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