A memorial to remember Odisha’s witch-hunt victims

  1. State Director General of Police of Odisha, has unveiled a memorial for witch-hunt victims in Keonjhar, Odisha. It is said to be the first of its kind in India. It has a symbolic statue at its centre with the names of all known victims of witch hunting etched on granite stones. The memorial seeks to aware people about the inhumane and superstitious practice of witch-hunting.
  2. Witch hunting, an age old practice, involves the branding of people, especially women as witches. Victims are humiliated, tortured and killed. The inhuman practice of witch-hunting prevails in several States, including Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Assam, mainly in the tribal areas.
  3. Odisha has Odisha Prevention of Witch hunting Act, 2013 in place. The objective of the legislation is to provide for effective measures to tackle the menace of witch-hunting and to prevent the practice of witch craft.
  4. Similar legislation in other states include a) Prevention of Witch (Dayan) Practices Act, 1999- Bihar, b) The Prevention of Witch (Daain) Practices Act, 2001, c) Jharkhand, the Chhattisgarh Tonahi Pratadna Nivaran Act, 2005, d) the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013, e) the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic law-2017, f) the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch-Hunting Act, 2015 and g) the Assam Witch-Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) law-2015.