Blind belief and superstition: Witchcraft crimes haunt Andhra Pradesh

The recent NCRB 2020 data revealed that witchcraft was the motive for four murders in Andhra Pradesh. The state took the top place in witchcraft-related murders in southern India.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  12 Dec 2021 9:17 AM GMT
Blind belief and superstition: Witchcraft crimes haunt Andhra Pradesh

Vijayawada: Despite awareness camps and programmes, witchcraft-related crimes continue in parts of Andhra Pradesh. However, some crimes were not reported due to various reasons, including fear of threat from the culprits.

Recently, three people of two families, including a father-son duo, were murdered and two others injured when the families clashed over witchcraft and old rivalry in the tribal hamlet Bagmaravalasa under Tokuru panchayat in the Ananthagiri police station limits in Vizag Agency.

When Gollori Dombu was accused of witchcraft (black magic) by Killo Komati, Dombu's son Subba Rao murdered Komati and injured his two sons. In retaliation, Komati's relatives murdered Dombu and his son.

Inspector of police of Araku Valley G. Demudu Babu said witchcraft allegations were the reason for the triple murder in the tiny village. "We have taken some precautionary steps to prevent further clash between the two groups in the village," he had added.

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said some people in parts of the state, including urban areas, believe witchcraft and sorcery in the modern age when science and technology have made rapid strides. The blind belief was the reason for some crimes like branding people witches and attacking or killing them.

AP top state in witchcraft-related deaths

The recent NCRB 2020 data revealed that witchcraft was the motive for four murders in Andhra Pradesh. The state took the top place in witchcraft-related murders in southern India.

On average, 10 to 15 people in the state were losing their lives on suspicion of practicing witchcraft in Andhra Pradesh. However, some murders due to witchcraft were reported as old rivalry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts blindly believed in witchcraft and sorcery and attacked people accusing them of practicing witchcraft.

Meanwhile, some people are taking the law into their own hands. "There is a need to create more awareness among people about the importance of science in daily life and to teach them that witchcraft is an unscientific and blind belief," said G. Srinivas, a social activist.

Members of a few organizations said in the rural pockets as well as in a few urban areas, if anyone suffers from a disease or something happens to their family members, they believe some unnatural power is responsible for it. The family then brands a few persons in the area as witches and blames them for the illness or death of their relative. They target these people, tonsure their heads, and pull out their teeth. Such blind beliefs also lead to a lack of development of the villages, they added.

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