Ganjam: Despite special laws aimed at curbing crimes against people accused of witchcraft, superstition still prevails, particularly among the underprivileged communities of India. Sadly, witch-hunts still remain common in the states of Odisha, Assam, and Jharkhand.
Bearing brunt of the same, a 63-year-old woman in Odisha’s Ganjam, has confined herself to the four walls of her house just because she was born with 20 toes and 12 fingers. Nayak Kumari says that her neighbours believe her to be a witch, but there is nothing she can do to change her appearance.
That’s why she stays indoors most of the time as she is treated differently.
”It has been 63 years I have been in the condition I am today. The residents nearby believe that I am a witch and keep away from me. I was born with this defect and I couldn’t be treated as we belonged to a poor family,” she said.
As per surgical specialist Dr Pinaki Mohanty, while having one or two extra fingers is not uncommon, having 20 toes and 12 fingers is very rare.
“This is a case of Polydactyly, in which extra fingers are there from birth. This is caused by a mutation in genes. Polydactyly is not that uncommon, around one or two people in every five thousand have extra fingers, he said.
Just this month, an 81-year-old woman in Himachal Pradesh was garlanded with shoes, and paraded through the village, as punishment for practising witchcraft.