PATNA: A woman and her daughter were forcibly tonsured and beaten up in public by some 20 men in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district after accusing the duo of practising witchcraft.
Police said the two women were dragged out of their home at Dulami village under Sonahatu police station in Ranchi and presented before the village court on Thursday noon. They were branded as “witches” and held responsible for the sickness and resulting death of a woman in the village a few days ago.
As per the orders of the village court, the two women – Karo Devi, 65 and Basanti Devi, 35 – were dragged to the banks of the Suvarnarekha river flowing near the village. The two women were forcibly tonsured, beaten up and then made to put on white saris after they took a bath. They were also allegedly forced to consume bits of human excreta.
After the two women lodged an FIR at Sonahatu police station on Friday, a police team raided the village and arrested 11 men named as accused.
The incident underlines the scourge of superstition in Jharkhand’s rural areas, where 523 women have been brutally killed in the past 17 years after being labeled as witches who cause sickness and death in their neighbourhood.
Last month, a woman sustained a bid on her life by some men in her village in Latehar district who tried to strangulate her after branding her as a witch.
Jharkhand tops the states in witch-hunting murders, though awareness campaigns by the state government and crackdown by police have led to a decline in the rate of such murders by more than 50 per cent since 2013. As per data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in December last, 27 women were lynched in Jharkhand after being labeled as witches in 2016.