Masses go after ‘witches’ in Bihar, Jharkhand; many killed, forced to consume human wastes
PATNA: “Witches” have become the new target of attacks. In the past three days, at least five persons have been killed and three forced to consume human faeces on the suspicious of practicing witchcraft in the twin states of Bihar and Jharkhand, setting alarm bells ringing.
In a fresh incident, a woman was beaten to death at Koldihgarh village in Nawada district of Bihar yesterday over witchcraft allegations. According to media report, the woman was dragged out of home and rained with bamboo blows until she lay unconcious on the ground.
She was rushed to the nearby primary health centre at Govindpur where she succumbed to her injuries soon. The police have arrested four persons in this regard while raids are on to nab other absconding accused persons.
Barely two days back, on July 21, four people including two elderly women, had been killed on the suspicion of witchcraft in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The victims were dragged out of their homes while asleep, taken to an isolated place and lynched by a group of villagers, police said.
This comes shortly after three persons, including two women, were forced to consume human wastes at Jhinjhari village in Jharkhand’s Giridih district over the same charges last week. The victims said they were blamed for illness of a woman.
In March this year, two elderly women suspected to be practicing witchcraft were killed in Bihar’s Munger district. In September last year, a 50-year-old woman was killed while in October a 70-year-old woman had her tongue chopped off over witchcraft allegations in Kaimur district.
In April last year, a widow was fractured her leg in Kurmuri village in Sheikhpura district of Bihar while in February last year, an old widow was gang-raped by a group of villagers in Jharkhand’s Khunti district over the same charges. In the same month, two women, both mother and daughter, had their heads shaven and forced to consume human excreta in Ranchi district.
But perhaps the most horrible incident took place in August 2015 in Ranchi district of Jharkhand where an angry mob raided a village at night and lynched five women aged between 35 and 52 on the suspicion of practicing witchcraft.
Witnesses said the victim women were also stripped naked before being killed in cold blood.
A local police report said more than 400 women were killed in the past one decade in Jharkhand till August 2015 on the suspicion of being witches.
In Bihar, around 700 women were assaulted, paraded through the streets and made to consume human excreta for allegedly being witches in between 2013 and 2015, according to an official report.
The killing and physical torture of women over witchcraft allegations continue despite the twin states enacting laws to tackle this situation.
A report in the media said Bihar despite being the most backward was the first state in India to pass a law against witch hunting in 1999 whereas Jharkhand did it in 2001.