Labelled a witch, 83-year-old woman stripped in Rajasthan

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhilwara
  • Updated: Oct 14, 2015 17:23 IST
The woman alleged that on Sunday about 14-16 people from her village branded her as a witch and tortured her with searing hot tongs.

An 83-year-old woman was allegedly stripped, harassed by five persons and thrown into a nullah in front of the public under suspicion of witchcraft in the district on Sunday. The victim is undergoing treatment at Mahatma Gandhi hospital, Bhilwara.

Chhau Bai, an 83-year-old widow and the victim in Bihada village under Pander police station limit filed a complaint to superintendent of police (SP) Bhilwara Hemant Sharma on Monday, stating that on Sunday two men and three women of a Gujjar family entered her house, caned her and labelled her a witch.

When she resisted, the accused allegedly stripped her and dragged her outside her house. They thrashed her with tongs and an iron chain on the road, poured alcohol on her and painted red powder on her body. They then threw her into a nullah and threatened her to leave the village, she mentioned.

Chau and her granddaughter lodged a complaint at Pander police station against Ratan Lal Gurjar, an agriculture supervisor in state government, his wife Hemlata, Bharti Gurjar, Geeta Gujjar and Mukesh Gujjar, on Sunday evening.

However, police filed an FIR against Bharti Gurjar only, under section 323(Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 341(Punishment for wrongful restraint) on Sunday night and transferred investigation to head constable Gopal Sharma. Police also did not file the case under Anti-Witchcraft Act 2015 till Tuesday.

According to a local villager, a female member of the Gujjar family has been ailing since long. The family had consulted a witch doctor from Nasirabad, Ajmer, who blamed it on Chhau Bai and suggested them to harm the victim.

SP Hemant Sharma said the police are looking into the matter.

The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act 2015, which is in force in the state, mentions such acts as punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a three year-term, which may be extended to seven years or served with a fine of Rs 50,000 or both. Despite the act, three women were branded witches in the last three days in Bhilwara.

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