India: Protective Laws Fall Short for Women Charged with Witchcraft

Correspondent, Shuriah Niazi – Women News Network – WNN

Chhattisgarh, India: Mita Bai, 34, will never forget the morning of May 6, 2005. It was 8 a.m. in the morning when a group of three men and six women came to her house with their allegations, branding her as, “a witch.” As an attack against her broke out, she cried out for help, but no one heard or heeded her pleas. Instead, she was dragged from her home, stripped of all her clothing, and nearly hung from a tree.What was her crime? She was accused of bringing misfortune to others in the village as a practitioner of “Dayan Pratha,” known in rural India as the practice of witchcraft.

Kerva village in Chhattisgarh is near a vast, deep forest. The road to the village is so remote and difficult to reach that there are no buses; only a slow four-wheel drive vehicle can negotiate the terrain. With the nearest police station 40 kilometers away, police rarely venture into to the village.

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