Thursday, March 31, 2011

Witches in India?


From what I can see the 2 most known areas for abuse in the name of witchcraft is in Africa and India. I have been hearing a lot about Africa, so I decided a momentary spotlight on India was in order.

The best targets are the widowed, poor and even ugly women. Women are still 2nd class citizens in India. You will see many cases of the witch in question being a widow refusing to give up her husband's land, or a single woman refusing a neighbor's advances. Or simply an older woman who simply uses up more resources than she creates...especially in times of famine.

Ramond Fisman is quoted in an article in the Times that creating a pension for elderly women would eliminate the limited resources cause of witch accusations...it would give these women some protection.

Bhuri Bai was accused by an Ojha (kind of a preacher/wise man) of the village of being responsible through witchcraft for the death of a young boy. During the burning of the funeral pyre the villagers came together to attack her. She was a lucky one to have her husband to save her, but they were forced to leave their home.

Changes in the law unfortunately do more to punish the accused than stop the attacks. If a woman is accused of witchcraft, they want to remove her to a prison for up to 5 years for her own protection. While the Ojha receive nothing in punishment, and the actual attackers, if arrested at all receive less than a year or nothing but a warning. Clearly some humanitarian work needs to be done here.

Between 2001-2006 about 700 women have been killed after being accused of witchcraft, and that is only in East India. Police rarely step in to help, telling people to work it out for themselves. How terrifying to live in a place where those whose jobs are to protect offer no protection. Keep these women in your thoughts and prayers.

Global Giving has numerous charities in India. Recently they raised over $8,000 in legal aid. Click here to see what you can do.

Resources:
BBC News
Religious Tolerance.org
The Times Online
The Women News Network
RT Question More

1 comment:

  1. omg wth! India too!?! 700 women since 2006 :( It just breaks my heart...thank you so much for bringing this to light so more are aware. I honestly didnt know witch hunting was occuring in India also.

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