Berhampur: Two persons were
killed when police opened fire to disperse a violent mob
which attacked them at a village in Odisha`s Ganjam district
on Saturday over suspected practice of witchcraft.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered an inquiry into the
incident by the district and sessions judge, Ganjam, into the
The clash occured at Phasipada under Kodala police
station area when the police were prevented from entering the
village where residents had forcibly detained four persons,
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the assembly.
"Four persons, including a woman, were subjected to
inhuman treatment on the suspicion of practising witchcraft.
Police rushed to the village to rescue them but were
prevented from doing so," Patnaik said.
The mob hurled stones and bombs at the police and
attempted to chase them away, he said.
"The police resorted to firing after teargas and
lathi-charge in self-defence failed to disperse the mob. As
a result, two persons, Purno Palo and Rabinda Palo died and
17 persons were injured," the chief minister said.
He said 36 police personnel were injured, including
seven critically, as also 17 villagers.
Terming the incident as "shocking and barbaric",
Patnaik said stringent action would be taken under the law
against the persons responsible.
Patnaik announced Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the
deceased from the Chief Minister`s Relief Fund.
The expenses for medical treatment of the injured
would be borne by the concerned department, he said.
The four persons detained by the villagers were
rescued, DIG of Police (Southern Range) R K Sharma said.
The villagers had tonsured the four and pulled out their
teeth accusing them of practising witchcraft. One of the
victims escaped last night and informed the police, after
which the action was taken.
Five platoons of armed police, including two platoons
of the Special Operation Group, were deployed in the village
to maintain law and order.