Keonjhar: Director General of Police (DGP) Dr Rajendra Prasad Sharma on Wednesday inaugurated a memorial for witch-hunt victims at Keonjhar.
The memorial was dedicated to all the innocents who were killed after being branded as witch. The DGP also launched an awareness drive against witch-hunting.
Though Odisha have witnessed rapid strides in different spheres, but witchcraft continues to have strong roots in tribal pockets mostly in Keonjhar, Mayubhanj, Rayagada and Gajapati.
The killings related to suspicion of witchcraft are on the rise in the State mostly in tribal dominated districts despite the enforcement of the Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Act, 2013. The first capital punishment was awarded to as many as nine people for murder over suspicion of witch-craft under the Act last year.
Sources said in 2017, as many as 99 cases of witch-hunting were reported in the State, compared to 83 in 2016, and 58 in 2015, sources said.
DIG (WR) Kabita Jalan, Keonjhar SP Jay Narayan Pankaj along with a few women, who were branded as witches, were also present.