Back in the olden days, witches were killed by being either burned to death at a stake or hanged or stoned to death. This is present even now, although whether the accused is a witch or sorcerer is another matter altogether.
A 45-year-old tribal man was killed by a group of villagers on the suspicion that he was practicing sorcery in Rayagada district, police said today.
Five persons were arrested for allegedly killing the tribal man identified as Dakhina Tadingi of Chanchalagudam village, situated on Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border on Saturday night, the police said.
In past few weeks, at least three persons of the village had died for various reasons, but the villagers held Tadingi “responsible” for the deaths alleging that he had killed them through sorcery, said Additional Superintendent of Police (Rayagada), Y Jagannath Rao.
The ASP said Tadingi, a marginal farmer, was going to his paddy field when the arrested persons allegedly attacked and beat him to death before setting ablaze the body to destroy evidence.
After the matter came to light on Sunday, police recovered the ashes and bones from the spot. The five villagers were arrested yesterday and during interrogation, they have “confessed” to the crime, Rao said.
During the investigation, it was found that the deceased was not a sorcerer but only a marginal farmer, police said adding Tadingi used to perform pujas at home at times which perhaps raised suspicion among villagers.