UTC - Women's Studies Department



Tribal women

Tribal woman allegedly tonsured and paraded naked in Orissa village



The local villagers in a remote village in tribal dominated Sundergarh district in western Orissa reportedly tonsured a tribal woman and paraded her naked in the village suspecting her to be a witch. The police has registered a case and an investigation is on. No arrest has been made in connection with the case yet.

According to a report reaching the state headquarters from Sundergarh, Nuni Ekka, wife of Dahur Ekka of Tainsar village had visited the house of her neighbour Susi Ekka on Friday night in search of her son who was missing. When she reached the neighbour’s place all in Susi Ekka’s house had already gone to sleep. Suddenly Susi’s daughter Sumi got up from her bed and screamed loudly when she found Nuni inside the room. She had fainted soon after.

Other family members of Sumi who had already got up from bed responding to her scream shouted at Nuni thinking that she had entered their house to practice witchcraft. They along with other co-villagers who had already gathered at the spot by that time forced Nuni to perform her witchcraft to bring Sumi back to her sense. To avoid the wrath of the angry villagers, Nuni faked a witchcraft and returned home. The villagers thought the witchcraft to be true when Sumi regained her consciousness in the morning. The villagers then went to Nuni Ekka’s home and tonsured her head after dragging her out of the house. She was reportedly paraded naked in the village soon after. The villagers then forcibly tied her up on to a tree in the outskirts of the village.

The incident came to light, when Nuni managed to free herself and reported the matter in nearby Kalunga police outpost. The Sundergarh district administration has already sent a police team under the leadership of an additional Superintendent of Police to probe the matter and file a report.

[Deccan Herald, Monday, May 31, 2004]