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Ranchi: Mother, daughter tonsured, forced to eat faeces for practising ‘witchcraft’

ranchi Updated: Feb 17, 2018 10:02 IST
Sanjoy Dey
Sanjoy Dey
Hindustan Times, Ranchi

Villagers gather at Dulmi village where two women were tonsured and forced to eat human faecal for allegedly practising witchcraft. (HT Photo )

Two women were allegedly forced to eat faeces and were tonsured in a Ranchi village for practising ‘witchcraft’, once again bringing to fore the superstitious practice prevalent in rural Jharkhand.

The incident took place in Dulmi village under Sonahatu police station, around 56km from the state Ranchi, on Thursday.

Karo Devi, 65, and her daughter Basanti Devi, 35, registered their complaints on Friday, alleging their relatives dragged them out of their house, forced them to eat faeces and tonsured them after accusing them of practising witchcraft.

Police said they have arrested all 11 accused .

Sonahatu police station in-charge Amardeep, who goes by one name, said, “FIR has been lodged against 11 people and all of them were arrested.”

Recounting the horror, Basanti said, “Around 10am on Thursday, some 10-12 people, most of them our relatives, dragged us out of the house. They smeared human excreta on our bodies and forced us to eat faecal matter and drink urine,” Basanti said.

“Thereafter, we were taken to Subernarekha river from the village where they tonsured our heads and forced us to wear white saree. We were allowed to go home around 2pm,” she added.

The victims said the villagers labelled the two as witches and blamed them for illness of three persons in the village.

Sonahatu police officials said as per the statement of the victims, three persons, identified as Malti Devi, Akshay and Bijay, had fallen ill and fainted on Wednesday.

Instead of seeing a doctor, the family members took them to a local occultist for treatment, who accused Karo and Basanti Devi of practising witchcraft and being responsible for their ill health.

The occult suggested social shaming of the two women, police said.

The mother and daughter did not dare to go to police station on Thursday fearing repercussion from villagers. They went to Karo’s maternal house in Ichagarh and narrated entire story to them. The family helped them to lodge a case on Friday.

Witch-hunts are rampant in the tribal-dominated state. It topped the chart of witch-hunting murders in the country with 27 women lynched after being accused of witchcraft in 2016, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

However, such murder trend has declined by at least 50% since 2013. As per the NCRB, a total of 54, 47 and 32 such cases were reported in Jharkhand during 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

An analysis of the NCRB data since 2001 for Jharkhand shows a total of 523 women lynched after branding them witches till 2016. The state showed the most witch-hunting murders in 2013, when 54 persons were killed.

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 10:02 IST