Alleged witches seek punitive action against accusers

Himalayan News Service

Biratnagar, July 2:

Over 30 women of Morang and Sunsari districts, who have been accused of practising witchcraft, held a demonstration today in Biratnagar, demanding punitive action against the accusers. They said that tough laws should be introduced to punish the accusers. As many as 120 shamans also took part in the demonstration organised by Action Aid. A demonstrator, Jagapati Devi Koiri, 71, of Siswani VDC, said last year her three nephews had tied her for three days on charge of practising withcraft. Koiri and Raj Kumari Ray of Duhabi-3 said they had come to Biratnagar despite intense heat to prevent others from going through similar tortures. Another accused, Jago Devi Mandal, 30, of Budhnagar VDC, Morang, said the villagers were still torturing women on charge of practising witchcraft. "The police do not register cases against the accusers," she said, adding: "The accusers deny the charge even if they are arrested."

Once accused, the women find it very difficult to live in the village as they are the usual suspects whenver children take ill. The shamans, too, protested such accusations against women. Rup Narayan Mandal of Kadamaha VDC, Morang, said everybody should oppose violence against women. "It is a sheer stupidity to accuse our own sisters and neighbours of practising witchcraft", he said, adding: "Only incapable shaman would lay the blame on others to escape embarrassment."