5 more persons held in Odisha witchcraft torture case

Five more persons were arrested on Friday for their alleged involvement in pulling out the teeth of six elderly persons and forcing them to consume human excreta at a village in Odisha's Ganjam district suspecting them of practising witchcraft, a police officer said.

With this, the total number of people arrested in connection with the incident at Goparpur village under Khallikote police station area has gone up to 34, Inspector In-Charge (IIC) of Khallikote police station, Satya Narayan Pradhan said.

Police had earlier arrested 29 people, including 22 women, for their involvement in the incident, he said.

Efforts are on to arrest some more people, who were involved in the incident. "We have the names of other accused persons and they will be nabbed soon", the IIC said.

A group of people of Goparpur village suspected that the six elderly men practised witchcraft which caused the death of at least three women and sickness of seven others in the locality, police said.

They forcibly dragged the six men from their houses on Tuesday night and forced them to consume human excreta before pulling out their teeth, the police said.

The pleas of the six victims for help failed to evoke any response from other villagers.

As the information reached the district headquarters, Superintendent of Police Brijesh Rai along with a police team rushed to the village and rescued them.

The injured persons, all aged over 60 years, have been admitted at the hospital where their condition is stated to be stable.

The police arrested 29 people including 22 women in this connection on Wednesday.

Fearing arrest almost all the male persons had fled from the village, the IIC said.

There was no tension in the area, but police were keeping a strict vigil on the situation. Patrolling was intensified in the area to nab other accused persons, police said.

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