Visakhapatnam: The spectre of death and bloodshed in the name of black magic, sorcery and witchcraft has increased in Andhra Pradesh. The NCRB-2018 Crime in India report says that a total of nine persons were murdered on Suspicion of practising witchcraft in the State in 2018 and stood third in the list of murders due to witchcraft after Jharkhand (18) and Madhya Pradesh (10) while across the nation the figure of such deaths was put at 63.

It looks strange in this age of advanced technologies that people in Vizag, Vijayawada and few other places still believe witchcraft and sorcery.

Every year at least five to eight persons are losing their lives in the hands of locals on suspicion of practising witchcraft, said Ch Narasinga Rao of CPM. Social activists and police feel that the number might be as many as 20 given that many such incidents go unreported. There is little in terms of sensitization and awareness.

A senior IPS officer Babujee Attada, quoting a Telugu proverb that translates to ‘Tamarind fruits would never fall to the ground by simply reciting mantras’, contended that superstitions have been prevalent in many parts in Andhra Pradesh for any number of decades.

Unfortunately, some educated families also believe witchcraft practices being as they are under the influence of horror movies and spending huge amounts to visit fake Babas and their blind faith in their ‘magical’ powers, said members of Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV), a social service organization which has been fighting superstition in society by popularizing science.

“We have offered Rs10 lakh to anyone who could prove that sorcery or black magic was for real. But no one came forward to face the challenge,” said Srinivas of JVV.

A few months back,  a 55-year-old man was burnt alive by a group of persons under suspicion of his being a Tonhi, man involved in witchcraft practices, at Puttabandha village under Dumbribuda police station limits in Visakhapatnam district. The deceased was identified as Killo Jayaram, a farmer by profession. 

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