Study on the Trauma Suffered by Women Survivors of ” #Witch Hunts” in #India

January 2015, Assam

A study on survivors of “witch-hunts” shows that these women face not only psychological, sexual and physical violence but also economic abuse like being stripped of land, house, livestock, farms, and shops and denied access to jobs and public resources.

They face brutal physical violence, such as being attacked with bamboo sticks and daggers, yanked by the hair, slapped, punched and beaten up after being tied to a pillar. “There were instances where the victim was made to undergo agonising ‘tests’ like sitting on stool of thorny wood, holding iron balls or chewing betel nuts to prove they were not witches.”  In one case, the deceased victim, and her daughter  were raped by a group of seven men, had rods inserted in their private parts following which they were burnt by acid,” the report said. In four cases, the women were murdered.

The study also establishes that branding women as “witches” was “a tool to settle scores owing to personal enmity, jealousy or to grab property.”

Mother and Daughter Branded as “#Witches” Are #Lynched by Villagers in Raipur, #India

23 November, 2014, Raipur

A 60 year old and her 40 year old daughter who had been branded as witches by their village, were lynched to death. The police hasn’t filed a case yet, and say they will do so only after they’ve investigated what happened.

Why Did Her Relatives Label Her a “Witch” and Lynch Her?

Raipur, Chattisgargh, March 05, 2014:


Dulari bai

52 year old Dulari Bai who had no children was accused of being a “witch” and beaten and killed by four men, all of who were her immediate relatives.

This is a consistent pattern.  In most cases of ‘witch lynching’ the attackers are male relatives or powerful men in the village.  And as studies establish now (see the link below) the reason the women are attacked and killed is so that the men can grab their land and property.

Woman Accused of Being A ‘Witch’ Burnt to Death

Vadodara, Gujarat, Aug 09, 2012

Seven men barged into the home of 55-year-old woman, Mohliben Dhansingh Rathwa, dragged her out,  and set her on fire, killing her.  They believed that she practiced black magic which killed one of their relative’s named Shankar.  Shankar howev er, is believed to have died of snake-bite.  Full report here.

65-Year-Old Woman Labelled A ‘Witch’ And Beaten Up

Jaipur, Rajasthan, August 04, 2012.

Four men barged into home of  65-year old tribal woman, Ganga Devi,  in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district, and after accusing her of being a “witch” who was causing sickness in the village, the men tied her up to the bed and beat her up.  They told her to leave the village or else they would kill her.  The police say the neighbours just want to grab her property, and many single women are similarly harassed, branded as witches, and either killed or chased out from the village.  Full report here.

Villagers Brand Woman A Witch To Grab Her Property

Jaipur, Rajasthan, June 01, 2011

A group of villagers barged into the house of  Kawa Varhat on Sunday night and started beating him him and his wife. They alleged that the woman possesses some evil spirit. They said that she and her husband would have to leave the village immediately.  In fact, such incidents of torturing women after branding them as witch’ are on the rise in the state. “Most of these cases happen when people want to grab the property of the women who are branded witches,” said a senior police officer.  Read the report here.

Village Attacks and Blinds A Woman Accused Of Being A Witch

Chhattisgarh, May 21, 2011

Eleven people stormed into a house in a central Indian village and assaulted a woman whom they accused of witchcraft, blinding her and her husband by stabbing them in the eyes with scissors, police said on Saturday. Chhattisgarh state passed the Witchcraft (Prevention) Act in 2005 to crack down on offenders. But the law has hardly made an impact in tribal areas, where atrocities against women accused of witchcraft still flourish and the majority of cases go unreported.  Read the report here. 

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