Justice for woman labeled a "witch" in India

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:46 GMT

The practice of branding women as witches and assaulting or killing them is still common is some parts of India, particularly among tribal communities, despite there being a law against it.

In July, a 60-year-old woman was beaten, stripped and tied to an electricity pole in a village in eastern India after local people accused her of being a witch.

Villagers in Odisha state's Mayurbhanj district blamed the death of an 18-year-old boy on the woman, saying she had practised witchcraft on him, although medical records showed he died of malaria.

One of our Foundation reporters ran a story with the headline “Indian woman branded witch, stripped and paraded naked.” District Superintendent of Police G.C. Mallick told Thomson Reuters Foundation: "We rescued the woman and admitted her to a local hospital. She has received head injuries. She is critical. I have never witnessed such an inhuman incident during my three decades of service."

Our story prompted the state minister to get police to speed up the investigation, and as a result, arrests were made.

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