Languages
Page last updated at 20:10 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 21:10 UK

Village 'witches' beaten in India

By Salman Ravi
BBC News, Ranchi

Advertisement

Footage of 'witches' being abused by a mob in India

Five women were paraded naked, beaten and forced to eat human excrement by villagers after being branded as witches in India's Jharkhand state.

Local police said the victims were Muslim widows who had been labelled as witches by a local cleric.

The incident occurred on Sunday in a remote village in Deoghar district.

Correspondents say the abuse of women who are branded as witches is common, but rare footage of the incident has caused outrage across India.

Police went to Pattharghatia village after being informed about the incident by a group of villagers.

'Possessed'

They have lodged a case against 11 villagers, including six women. Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

The victims were taken to a playground where hundreds had assembled to watch
Murari Lal Meena
Deputy police inspector general

Armed police have since been deployed to the area.

"On Sunday morning the victims were taken to a playground where hundreds had assembled to watch the ghastly incident," deputy inspector general of police Murari Lal Meena told the BBC.

"No one in the mob came forward to rescue the victims as they were being stripped and beaten up," he said.

The victims are now under police protection.

Police say that people in Pattharghatia believe that certain women in their village are possessed by a "holy spirit" that can identify those who practise witchcraft.

"These women recently identified five women from the same village as being witches who practised witchcraft and brought miseries to the area," a police official said.

Soon, an unruly mob broke into their huts, dragged them out and started beating them up.

Footage of the incident has been aired on television channels in India prompting outrage.

Hundreds of people, mostly women, have been killed in India because their neighbours thought they were witches.

Experts say superstitious beliefs are behind some of these attacks, but there are occasions when people - especially widows - are targeted for their land and property.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
'Witch' family killed in India
12 Jun 08 |  South Asia
'Witchcraft' families killed
23 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Indian 'witchcraft' family killed
19 Mar 06 |  South Asia
Three 'witches' kill themselves
24 Oct 03 |  South Asia
Indian mob burns 'witches'
03 Jul 03 |  South Asia
Indian police tackle sorcery
26 Jun 02 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific