Islamic Witch Hunts (India)
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5 Muslim widows are dragged out of their huts by a mob, then taken to a playground, stripped naked, beaten and forced to eat human excrement in front of hundreds of villagers after being labeled as witches by a local cleric
Local police said the victims were Muslim widows who had been labelled as witches by a local cleric.
The incident occurred on Sunday in a remote village in Deoghar district.
Correspondents say the abuse of women who are branded as witches is common, but rare footage of the incident has caused outrage across India.
Police went to Pattharghatia village after being informed about the incident by a group of villagers.
They have lodged a case against 11 villagers, including six women. Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Armed police have since been deployed to the area.
"On Sunday morning the victims were taken to a playground where hundreds had assembled to watch the ghastly incident," deputy inspector general of police Murari Lal Meena told the BBC.
"No one in the mob came forward to rescue the victims as they were being stripped and beaten up," he said.
The victims are now under police protection.
Police say that people in Pattharghatia believe that certain women in their village are possessed by a "holy spirit" that can identify those who practise witchcraft.
"These women recently identified five women from the same village as being witches who practised witchcraft and brought miseries to the area," a police official said.
Soon, an unruly mob broke into their huts, dragged them out and started beating them up.
Footage of the incident has been aired on television channels in India prompting outrage.
Hundreds of people, mostly women, have been killed in India because their neighbours thought they were witches.Experts say superstitious beliefs are behind some of these attacks, but there are occasions when people - especially widows - are targeted for their land and property.
Salman Ravi, BBC News, October 20, 2009
In 2 separate incidents, male villagers suspected to be involved in sorcery are attacked. One of them is beaten to death, while the other is hospitalized from injuries he gained from a group of villagers
In two separate incidents, villagers suspected to be involved in sorcery, were attacked, resulting in the death of one grievous injuries to the other.
One of them, identified as U. Ramulu, 40, was beaten to death at Haridasnagar in Yellareddypeta in Karimnagar district.
According to the Gambhiraopet police the incident took place on Friday night at Haridasnagar.
Police said the family members of Ramulu’s brother, U. Yellaiah, were involved in the killing.
They suspected that Ramulu was involved in witchcraft and necromancy, due to which deaths had been a regular phenomenon in the family.
“Ramulu’s brother, Yellaiah, and the latter’s son, Mohan, hatched a plan and waited for the right opportunity. On Friday, Ramulu, a shepherd, returned home from the fields. He was about to leave for the toddy shop when he was attacked by sticks. The attackers hit him on the head and punched him on the face and eyes,” said the police.
The cops have registered a case and taken the accused into custody.In another incident, Mr Butchaiah of Nadithanda in Kottur Mandal of Mahabubnagar district, was left injured by a group of villaggers. He was later shifted to a nearby hospital. Further details are awaited.
Deccan Chronicle, August 14, 2011