Woman labelled as witch slaps cases against villagers
A 45-year-old woman has filed a case against a group of villagers for allegedly labelling her as a witch and mistreating her in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan.india Updated: May 08, 2010 18:59 IST
A 45-year-old woman has filed a case against a group of villagers for allegedly labelling her as a witch and mistreating her in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan.
"The villagers, especially the women, call me witch. They insult me, torture me and try to beat me. They want me to leave the village...where should I go? I do not have any one with me," Prem Devi, a resident of Dhauli village, over 250 km from the state capital said.
She filed the first information report - a police complaint - against 13 women May 1.
"I am not even able to work under the NREGA scheme. It is my only source of livelihood," she said.
"A couple of days back, I tried to go for some work, but few of the women attacked me. I am really scared. How can I live in such a place where people are after my life?" she said.
"The problem is that in spite of filing an FIR, the police have not taken the matter seriously. They came here only once, spoke to a few people and left the village," she said.
A senior police official said: "We have recorded the statements of both the parties. We will do a medical examination of the complainant and soon arrest the culprits."
In Rajasthan, there have been several instances where women, who exhibit abnormal behaviour, are branded as witches and mistreated by the society. It often results in torture, leading to suicides.
In a bid to curb this practice, the state's women commission proposed a draft bill, called the Rajasthan Prevention of Witch (Dain) Practices Bill, which was sent to the government three years ago.
According to the draft bill, a crime would be considered to have been committed when any person or community intentionally or inadvertently abets, conspires, aids and instigates the identification of a woman as a witch, leading to her mental and physical torture and humiliation.
The draft bill advocates severe punishment for the guilty. If a woman commits suicide after being called a witch, the accused shall be sentenced to not less than five years in jail, which can be extended to 10 years. They can also be fined.