The year started on a sombre note for the Indian woman with mass molestation of young women in Bengaluru on New Year’s eve. And while this incident has (rightfully) generated outrage by virtue of occurring in one of India’s four cosmopolitan metros, in rural India, a steady stream of quiet crimes have been going on against women.
On December 30, 2016, an elderly woman was accused of being a witch in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s home district of Nalanda. A group of people got together, blackened her face, chopped off her hair and beat her with sticks. The local police arrested one man who has confessed to the crime.
Not all such cases end with the perpetrator being brought to justice. In fact, many women accused of being witches are often burnt alive or hacked to death after being sexually assaulted. A bulk of witch killings take place in the hinterland, where caste hierarchies determine one’s fate. Simple things such as having money, owning land or sending your children to school can invite accusations of witchcraft.
Milind Deshmukh, Chief Secretary, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, says that it is almost always about money, property and land. So, if there is a wealthy widow or divorcee, people who want to usurp her property get together to conspire against her. “They pay local tantriks to blame disease among children or death of cattle in the village on such a woman, claiming it is the result of her black magic or curse. This ignites the passion of the villagers, who then get together and first humiliate, then assault and often kill the so-called witch,” he explains.
This despite the efforts of anti-witchcraft activists such as 64-year-old Birubala Rabha of Assam’s Goalpara district and the Assam Mahila Samata Society. Though Rabha previously believed in witches herself, she shunned her beliefs when a local quack blamed her mentally ill son’s typhoid on a curse of a fairy that he had allegedly impregnated. She has been working to help women accused of witchcraft. The North East Network nominated her for a Nobel in 2005.
Trupti Desai of the Bhumata Brigade has been working to improve the condition of women across Maharashtra and she says such cases are most prevalent among tribal communities.
The perpetrators usually have full backing of village headmen and genuinely believe that by killing witches they are protecting their village. Desai says, “All these cases of violence against women are interlinked. Witchcraft, dowry, torturing widows and sexual abuse are all legitimised by a patriarchal society out to punish women for being successful and wealthy.”
“When it comes to child or human sacrifice, it is usually the girl child, that has just hit puberty, that is either killed or forced to have sexual intercourse with godmen to bring better luck and wealth to the family,” says Deshmukh.
It is because the female is seen as impure. According to the NCRB, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal accounted for 75 per cent of murders due to child or human sacrifice.
உடனே ஷேர் செய்யுங்கள்… இளைஞர்களிடம் தனியாக சிக்கிக் கொண்ட பெண்ணை கொடூரமாக தாக்கும் அதிர்ச்சி வீடியோ Indian Girl Beaten By villagers