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6 of family hacked to death in Keonjhar, 1 held

Keonjhar/Bhubaneswar: In a gruesome act, six members of a tribal family including a couple and four children were today hacked to death at a remote village in Odisha’s Keonjhar district by unknown attackers on suspicion of practising sorcery, police said.

The assailants attacked the family with sharp-edged weapons leaving the couple in their thirties and their four children dead at Munda Sahi under Joda police station limits, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (Badbil), A P Swain said.

The deceased were identified as Gura Munda (35), his wife Budhuni Munda (30), their sons Suduru Munda and Kashinath Munda and daughters Sambhari and Namita, police said.

Two other sons, Ganita Munda and Sambhu Munda, who were critically injured in the attack, were not in a state to speak, they said.

Director General of Police Sanjeev Marik said one suspect has been taken into custody in connection with the incident and efforts were on to nab others.

The two critically injured were found lying in a pool of blood and rushed to the hospital for treatment, he said.

Preliminary inquiry indicated that suspicion of sorcery and superstition might have provoked the attackers, the DGP said.

The probe into the incident has been accorded high priority and tagged as ‘Red Flag’. Additional Director General of Police (Crime Branch) would monitor the case, which would be probed by the District Police till the prosecution stage, Marik said.

A DSP rank officer would conduct the inquiry to be monitored by the SP, he said.

A case has been registered under sections 302 and 34 of the IPC. Provisions of Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act would also be applied, senior police officers said.

Forensic experts and scientific team visited the site as part of the investigation, while different objects used in the crime were seized, the SDPO said adding investigation was in progress and the bodies were sent to the district headquarters hospital for post-mortem.

The remote village wore a deserted look in the aftermath of the incident as male members fled apparently fearing police action.

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